Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness certification for ceramic matrix composite components in civil aircraft systems
Gateway Materials Technology, 221 S. Emerson, Mt. Prospect, IL 60056, USA
Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are being designed and developed for engine and exhaust components in commercial aviation, because they offer higher temperature capabilities, weight savings, and improved durability compared to metals. The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues and enforces regulations and minimum standards covering the safe manufacture, operation, and maintenance of civil aircraft. As new materials, these ceramic composite components will have to meet the certification regulations of the FAA for “airworthiness”. The FAA certification process is defined in the Federal Aviation Regulations (Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations), FAA policy statements, orders, advisory circulars, technical standard orders, and FAA airworthiness directives. These regulations and documents provide the fundamental requirements and guidelines for design, testing, manufacture, quality assurance, registration, operation, inspection, maintenance, and repair of aircraft systems and parts.
For metallic parts in aircraft, the FAA certification and compliance process is well-established for type and airworthiness certification, using ASTM and SAE standards, the MMPDS data handbook, and FAA advisory circulars. In a similar manner for polymer matrix composites (PMC), the PMC industry and the FAA have jointly developed and are refining parallel guidelines for polymer matrix composites (PMCs), using guidance in FAA circulars and the CMH-17 PMC handbook. These documents discuss design methods and codes, material testing, property data development, life/durability assessment, production processes, QA procedures, inspection methods, operational limits, and repairs for PMCs. For ceramic composites, the FAA and the CMC and aerospace community are working together (primarily through the CMH-17 CMC handbook) to define and codify key design, production, and regulatory issues that have to be addressed in the certification of CMC components in civil aircraft.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.