Drucella Andersen Headquarters, Washington, D.C. (Phone: 202/453-8613) Linda S.

Ellis Lewis Research Center, Cleveland (Phone: 216/433-2900) RELEASE: 92-21

February 4, 1992

NASA, AIRCRAFT ENGINE MAKERS FORM NEW MATERIALS TEAM NASA's Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, is managing a unique government-industry partnership that combines the expertise of the nation's two leading aircraft engine makers. The goal is to develop advanced materials that could make a next-generation supersonic airliner possible by the year 2005. The NASA-industry effort, called the Enabling Propulsion Materials Program, centers on critical composite materials and processes that U.S. industry will need to design and build a fleet of high-speed civil transports. The planes would fly at more than twice the speed of sound and at much higher altitudes than today's commercial airliners. The partnership is the result of an $88 million, 5-year contract which NASA recently awarded to General Electric Aircraft Engines, Cincinnati, and United Technologies, Pratt & Whitney Division, East Hartford, Conn. It is the first time these firms have teamed their skills to maintain American leadership in the world aviation market. This approach lets government and contractors alike draw on two industry technology bases instead of each company offering separate materials concepts. Studies show that there will be a strong demand for a profitable supersonic airliner early in the next century. By the year 2005, worldwide air travel is expected to double, with the largest growth in

long-haul travel across the Pacific. A cost-effective, environmentally compatible supersonic airliner could cut long-distance trip times in half. For example, a future highspeed civil transport could fly from Los Angeles to Tokyo in 4 1/2 hours instead of the 10 hours taken by today's subsonic passenger planes. - more -2According to Joseph R. Stephens, Deputy Chief for Lewis' Materials Division, the new program brings together three of the nation's premier engine materials research groups. "Lewis Research Center has unique capabilities in fiber growth, fiber analysis, composite fabrication and composite structural analysis. We also have a one-of-a-kind test rig to evaluate how these materials will perform in hot engine gases," said Stephens. "Pratt & Whitney and GE Aircraft Engines have the experience needed to develop, process and evaluate ceramic, intermetallic and metal matrix composites for high-temperature engines," Stephens added. "They are leaders in advanced gas turbine materials and have an excellent track record of developing new materials and processing methods and bringing them into production and service." Future U.S. supersonic transports must meet strict environmental demands. Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in the engine exhaust that might affect Earth's ozone layer must be reduced to a level about one-sixth that of today's aircraft. The planes also will have to meet the stringent noise standards that apply to today's new subsonic airliners. To achieve low NOx emissions at the high operating temperatures required for performance, the engines will need ceramic matrix composite materials that can function near the melting point of steel for hours at a time. Long, mechanically complex exhaust nozzles with integral acoustic suppressors will be needed to meet noise limits. The nozzles will require new lightweight, high-temperature metals or intermetallic composites to be economically practical. While NASA, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric form the core of the Enabling Propulsion Materials team, many other U.S. engine companies, materials suppliers and composite fabricators also play an integral part. This interaction will provide the base for a future U.S. manufacturing capability in high-temperature composites and will let the involved firms take early advantage of the program's technical results. The composites

also will help American manufacturers of subsonic airplanes, power systems and military aircraft. - end -