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Safran inaugurates ceramic composites research centre
LEAP engine. © CFMI

Safran inaugurates ceramic composites research centre

A Safran Ceramics research centre for ceramic matrix composites (CMC) located in the heart of Bordeaux Aeroparc, was inaugurated on 6th November.

A Safran Ceramics research centre for ceramic matrix composites (CMC) located in the Bordeaux Aeroparc, was inaugurated on 6th November in a ceremony attended by Alain Rousset, President of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region of southwest France, and Stéphane Cueille, Senior Executive VP and Chief Technology Officer, R&T and Innovation of Safran.

Safran Ceramics is Safran’s centre of excellence in high-temperature ceramic composites. The company develops advanced ceramic technologies, handling all phases from basic research to production.

The new research centre houses 100 specialists and about 20 doctoral students, with access to 200 state-of-the-art machines, some of which are the only ones of their kind in the world. All machinery and equipment is interconnected to support the real-time acquisition of research data, a key to accelerating innovation and supporting agile research.

Safran is bolstering its investments in CMCs to reduce the weight of its aircraft engines and improve efficiency, thus decreasing fuel consumption. The company says that the research being carried out at this center will eventually make it possible to replace engine parts made of metal alloys with lighter and higher temperature-resistant composites.

CMC parts are already being used in production engines. The LEAP engine, for example, features CMC shrouds in the high-pressure turbine, amongst other advanced materials.

Located in a 114-acre park, the 9,800m2 building was designed to integrate the ecosystem of the historic Toussaint Catros arboretum, dating from the 18th Century. The new facility was funded in part by the Nouvelle Aquitaine region and the Adour-Garonne water agency. It is also part of the OIM (Opération Intérêt Métropolitain) Bordeaux Aeroparc initiative, designed to foster the development of a center of aerospace and defence excellence in this growth sector.

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