The Brakes are Off for Ceram’s Materials Development
Ceram has recently completed a project on 'Endurance Braking' to improve the performance and endurance of aircraft braking systems.
The project, part of the Midlands Aerospace Alliances's Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (ATEP II) and carried out in collaboration with Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems and James Kent Ceramic Materials, looked at how coatings and infusions novel to this use could be used to improve the oxidation resistance of carbon composite aircraft brakes, (a process which leads to wear and ultimately limits the life of the brake).
Using their extensive knowledge of ceramics and glass and their experience of high temperature material testing, the team at Ceram worked with James Kent to determine an optimum material solution aimed at improving the oxidation resistance of the brake materials at the high temperatures encountered on landing. The result was the development of glass and ceramic-based systems to coat the carbon brakes, and an improved understanding of how these materials performed under such conditions. The improvements in the brake designs, which were also developed within the project, mean that the aircraft brakes may potentially be made lighter and avoid oxidation which can lead to wear and failure.
Sophisticated thermal modelling techniques were employed to simulate the performance of the new brake systems and to prove the success of the new braking systems; landings and aborted take-off simulations demonstrated their improved endurance.
The Endurance Braking project is one of a number of projects that Ceram is currently working on with suppliers throughout the aerospace supply chain, thanks to their materials expertise which they use to help companies develop new products and improve existing ones to stay ahead of the competition.
The MAA's Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme was funded by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund.