Silicon-carbide (SiC) reinforced ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are a key enabling technology to reduce fuel consumption and emissions of gas turbine engines. In one manufacturing approach, chemical vapor infiltration (CVI) is limited to only coating SiC fibers. The preform is then fabricated using a “lay-up” of basic plies or 2-D sheets composed of the precoated fibers. At the other extreme, CVI is used to completely densify a 3-D preform shaped in large part like the gas turbine component itself. The latter approach is more suitable for highly engineered components which sit directly in the gas path of the engine, for example, a high pressure turbine blade. In this case, the geometry is necessarily complex for aerodynamic, stress, and lifing (multi-physics) requirements. Presently, optimizing the CVI-dominated manufacturing approach is largely by trial-and-error. In this work, a first-principles modeling of CVI is performed to realize optimization of SiC/SiC CMC manufacturing.
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