Ceramics Take to the Skies

As the use of ceramic parts in the aerospace industry takes off - Ceramics Expo and Conference uncovers the latest technical ceramic opportunities, trends and innovations

As billions more miles are added to aerospace and space travel, there’s an unprecedented necessity for the raft of current technical advances to be built upon. Boeing predicted last year that accommodating the huge increase in passengers and cargo will require 39,620 new airplanes in the next 20 years, at a cost of $5.93 trillion. 

The success of this sector is inextricably linked to ceramics. They contribute much lighter weight, good strength, very high heat capabilities, and strong resistance to wear and corrosion; they also provide excellent insulating properties for a number of components. Investment in ceramics for aerospace is at an all-time high, with good reason. One recent industry estimate, for example, is that there are future potential savings of $1m per aero engine through the use of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs).


Turbine blades directly printed in Inconel 625, photo credit  ExOne 

If you are involved in civil or defense aerospace, aviation R&D, space travel, exploration and advanced vehicles and propulsion systems, the free-to-attend Ceramics Expo 2017 is the place to be at the end of April.

Dr ShayDr Shay Harrison from Free Form Fibers comments, “The development of robust CMC material systems that can withstand the extreme temperature and oxidizing environments in both aviation and aerospace platforms for next-generation vehicles is a key technology focus. Solving the challenges for reliable CMCs in jet engines will require materials-focused advances in manufacturing, part processing and assessment tools. Similarly, the progress from single-use application of exposed aerospace components to multiple-cycle endurance will propel the technical and economic advances in spaceflight.”

Alongside the expo, we once again expect many delegates from this sector at Conference @ Ceramics Expo, a free-to-attend event organized in a twin-track format offering three days of stimulating presentations. The first day alone will be enough to whet the appetite, with strands on ‘Developing Industry Standards for CMC Applications’, ‘Optimizing Ceramic Coating Quality to Improve Reliability’, ‘Evaluating Design Approach for Reliable Ceramic Coatings’ and ‘Developing CMC Manufacturing Processes to Support CMC Adoption’. The speaker roster includes experts from Free Form Fibers, Ceramco, Pratt & Whitney, NASA, 3D Ceram, Morgan Advanced Materials and Oerlikon Metco. View the full agenda here.

On the expo floor you’ll be spoilt for choice, including the following:  


Bullen Ultrasonics recently achieved AS9100 certification, recognizing its excellence in machining CMC components for the aerospace industry

Booth 241 


CeramTec North America was also successful in gaining AS9100; new products will come from the Laurens, SC facility as aerospace business is expanded

Booth 923

cleveland vibrator

Cleveland Electric Laboratories supports turbine engine manufacturers needing to perform extensive testing for new designs; it fabricates specialty temperature and pressure probes, performs modification machining of customer components and installs temperature, pressure and strain gauges

Booth 500

poco graphite

The POCO family of aerospace graphite and ceramics is being used in tribological and structural applications in the core of next-generation engines: bushings, washers, bumpers, guide rings and seals operating up to 1,200ºF (650°C)

Booth 901


Ceramco provides precision-manufactured ceramic fasteners

Booth 409


Materion Ceramics has refractory coatings that protect leading-edge surfaces such as turbine blades and nose cones; also, its temperature- and abrasion-resistant tiles shield spacecraft upon atmospheric re-entry

Booth 443

free from fibers

Free Form Fibers has developed the capability to fabricate silicon carbide fibers for CMCs to use in hot section components in turbines

Booth 1140


PremaTech Advanced Ceramics makes ceramic parts for fighter jets, space systems, tactical missiles, jet engines and satellite communication systems

Booth 509

superoir technical ceramics

Superior Technical Ceramics includes ceramics for instrumentation, control, engine monitoring, guidance, optics and turbine ignition systems

Booth 418

EMD Performance materials

Enduring brilliance for aircraft exteriors is provided by effect pigments from EMD Performance Materials, which offers a broad range of styling options to manufacturers of aerospace paints and coatings, combining unique color intensity with excellent weathering durability

Booth 1040


Corning’s high-purity fused silica has formed the windows for all of the manned spacecraft in US history; its specialty glass-ceramic materials were chosen for missile nose cones 

Booth 532

elan technology

Advanced glass materials from Elan Technology play an integral role in aviation and avionics sensors. The company develops materials that can withstand harsh conditions while maintaining reliability and accuracy. Brakes, flaps, fuel components and hydraulic sensors all incorporate Elan’s glass materials

Booth 538

IMR Test Labs

IMR Test Labs verifies, analyses and tests. It has extensive experience with reciprocating and turbine engine components/materials, airframe materials and thermal spray coatings

Booth 934

Engis Corp

Lapping, polishing, grinding and bore honing solutions are offered by Engis Corp; it offers superabrasive finishing solutions to the aerospace industry, with a range of processes for jet engines, airframes and landing gear

Booth 917

Ferro Ceramic

Specialist precision services are available from Ferro-Ceramic Grinding

Booth 112


ExOne promotes 3D printing for large, complex parts, and also printed sand molds and cores for prototype and production castings. Build sizes for these currently go up 70 x 39 x 29in (1,800 x 1,000 x 700mm)

Booth 326

View the full exhibitor list here