Macor Continues to Lead in Aerospace Component Design
Macor components were used in the Concorde engines and are still needed for tomorrow’s aerospace designs. Read on to find out more.
Over two decades since its development by Corning Incorporated in the United States, Macor still leads the way for aerospace applications of technical ceramics.
Its ability to withstand high temperatures, its low thermal conductivity and superb electrical insulation properties provide just the type of reliability needed for component design in the aircraft and spacecraft of the future.
Macor is a machinable glass ceramic that has a high electrical resistivity, as well as being both non-shrinking and non-porous. Not only can it be machined into many complex and intricate shapes, but this machining can be achieved using traditional tools rather than tools specially designed for the material. This makes Macor a highly economic material to use.
All these advantages come with a machining tolerance of 0.013 mm and a surface finish lower than 20 microns. Its typical applications include laser assemblies, precision electronics, applications in high vacuum environments and high-temperature processing as well as aerospace.
Over 20 years ago, Macor was used by British Aerospace for Concorde’s system of engine management. A similar application was developed for the Tornado GR4 attack aircraft that is still deployed by the RAF. It was also used for a number of complex components in the U.S. Space Shuttles over the period 1972 to 2011.
Aircraft of the future will need super-reliable new technical ceramics both for avionics and for passenger comfort. Aerospace designers are experimenting with new versions of wing concepts that will reduce drag and make the craft more fuel-efficient. They look to reduce the weight of the aircraft by eliminating heavy wires and even windows.
The heavy wires can be replaced by smart interactive materials, as indeed can the windows. These could relay images of the outside or images from any other media.
The Coming Aviation Revolution
Some really revolutionary changes that could occur over the next 20 years include a completely transparent fuselage on an aircraft that allows a passenger, hopefully one who does not suffer from vertigo, to view the outside over a range of 360 degrees.
The real dream is for hypersonic flight – flying at five times the speed of sound or more. But this will need the development of even smarter ceramics that will sustain their performance up to 2,000 degrees Celsius.
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