Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


HICOMP — Result In Brief

Project ID: 278483
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: United Kingdom

Composites in commercial aero engines

As pressure for lower fuel consumption and exhaust emissions of commercial airliners continues to mount, polymer matrix composites evolve to replace metals in aero engine components.
Composites in commercial aero engines
The EU-funded project HICOMP (Development and manufacture of high temperature composite aero engine parts) was initiated to incorporate carbon fibres into aero engine component laminates. The ultimate aim was to manufacture lightweight components for the geared turbofan engine demonstrator of the Sustainable and Green Engines (SAGE) programme.

Clean Sky's SAGE platform is a good example of how a new engine concept can be improved through the implementation of a series of innovative technologies. It is anticipated that fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the demonstrator could be reduced by up to 15 % when compared to turbofan engines currently in use.

The HICOMP team developed engine components from thermosetting resin that can withstand service temperatures up to 350 °C. They first identified the most practical and cost-effective manufacturing route to meet stringent performance requirements. Demonstration components were subsequently manufactured to replace heavier titanium parts in the engine compressor.

Specifically, raw materials were selected based on the results of an extensive screening campaign where their suitability and effectiveness were validated. In addition, demonstrator designs were reviewed for the selected composite manufacturing process. The results were used to define the tooling geometry that would guarantee the optimal interfacing with the mating parts.

Before HICOMP, the use of polymer matrix composites was limited to niche technologies. The cost of raw materials was high and difficulties were encountered in their mass processing. However, recent developments in high-temperature resin technologies have facilitated the introduction of composites in a wider range of applications, including commercial aero engines.

Related information


Aero engines, fuel consumption, commercial airliners, polymer matrix composites, HICOMP
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