Fibre-reinforced ceramics are a new class of materials which combine the well known, superior properties of monolithic ceramics, like high temperature and chemical resistance, hardness and wear resistance, with very uncommon qualities like extreme thermal shock resistance, damage tolerance and quasi-ductile fracture behaviour.
At the Institute of Structures and Design, CMC materials originally were developed for thermal protection systems of reusable spacecraft. These so-called C/C-SiC materials are manufactured via the LSI (Liquid Silicon Infiltration) process, also developed at the Institute.
Compared to the conventional CMC production processes, like CVI (Chemical Vapour Infiltration) and LPI (Liquid Polymer Infiltration), the LSI process offers both technological and economic advantages and opened new application areas for CMC materials beyond aerospace. As an example, ceramic brake disks for automobiles, could be introduced into serial production and currently are available in several sports and upper class cars.
Innovative C/C-SiC parts have been developed in governmental funded projects as well as in direct cooperation with industrial partners. Successful developments are transferred and licensed to serial manufacturers. One example for a technology transfer are brake pads for high speed elevators, developed in cooperation with Schindler Elevator Ltd., which are now produced by a SME.
Substantial experience is on hand in the following areas:
Current research in CMC technology is focused on: