Gersthofen, 03 September 2020. On the long way towards Europe’s first silicon carbide fiber pilot production, BJS could reach another major milestone. The spinning unit was started up and the first green fibers could be produced in a reproduceable manner in record time. The spinning unit was specifically engineered and built for BJS’ patented raw materials.
Dr. Werner Humbs, managing director, excitedly congratulated the team:”It is a major achievement to transfer such a complex production process step like spinning from lab-scale to pilot-scale in a minimal time – considering that this pilot-scale is comparable to current industrial production units!”
Ceramic silicon carbide fibers are produced in 5 steps. The first step is the production of the polymer from different silanes. This step is executed by chemical companies. The second step consists of the spinning. The polymer is pushed through a “shower head”, so that single filaments are created. On the way down, they are drying. The third step is a heat treatment, called pyrolysis. In the fourth step, the filaments are sintered which is also a form of a heat treatment. Thereafter, ceramic fibers are created. They are much thinner than a human hair, yet so much more stronger. They weigh close to nothing, withstand temperatures of up to 1500°C without losing their mechanical strength, remain unchanged in thermo-shock situations, are mechanically strong, ductile, and chemically resistant. In the fifth and last process step, the fibers are sized and put onto cones. The sizing is used to facilitate the next process steps when fibers are e.g. woven. Usually, the fibers will be woven.
Thereafter, a matrix will be added to the wovens, so that a ceramic fiber reinforced matrix composite is created. The matrix could be either silicon carbide, plastics or metals. Such composites are much more stable than if the matrix did not have fibers inside.
Silicon Carbide fiber-reinforced silicon carbide matrix composites are essential for aero-engines. These composites are indispensable for aero-engines to operate at higher temperatures, thus burning fuel more efficiently and emitting much less CO2 and noise. This new type of aero-engines will be gradually introduced into the market in order to meet the most challenging CO2 reduction and noise reduction targets in aviation – all of which are legally binding.