Pratt & Whitney opens new composite development facility

© Pratt & Whitney

Pratt & Whitney has opened a ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) engineering & development facility in Carlsbad, California.

The new 60,000ft2 facility is an integrated engineering, development and low-rate production facility solely dedicated to CMCs for aerospace applications.

“Pratt & Whitney has been leading the industry with the world’s quietest, greenest, most efficient and highest performance engines in the world. We’ve achieved this by pioneering new materials, aerodynamics and engine architectures,” said Frank Preli, vice president of propulsion and materials technology at Pratt & Whitney. “Some of our best and brightest minds are innovating within this facility and they will ensure that we continue to operate on the cutting edge of aviation technology for decades to come.”

Ceramic matrix composites are a class of material made of ceramic fibres embedded within a ceramic matrix. CMC materials are lightweight and can be used to manufacture engine parts that are one-third the weight of traditional metallic parts.

The temperature capability of CMC parts is several hundred degrees higher than state-of-the-art superalloy parts. This translates into a significant improvement in fuel efficiency as well as weight savings, with the added benefit of reduced emissions and carbon footprint.

“Our revolutionary Pratt & Whitney GTF engines already deliver up to 20% better fuel efficiency, 50 percent lower regulated emissions and a 75 percent reduction in noise footprint for our customers. CMC parts will allow us to do even more, by building upon the industry-leading benefits in efficiency and sustainability that the GTF engine already delivers.” said Preli.

Pratt & Whitney has a long history of innovation and engineering excellence, starting with the world’s first air-cooled Wasp engine in 1925.

“We are excited to bring our legacy of innovation and more than 60 new jobs to southern California,” added Preli.

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