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Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC)

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Characteristic of this material (CMC = Ceramic Matrix Composites) is the matrix made of a ceramic material embedded between the fibres. Typical fibrous materials include carbon, silicon carbide, aluminium oxide and mullite. Aluminium oxide, zirconium oxide and silicon carbide are chiefly used as matrix components. CMC terminology is based on the principle “Fibre type/Matrix type” (e.g. “C/SiC” for carbon fibre reinforced silicon carbide). This designation frequently precedes the production methods which are usually realised in three steps.

Ceramic matrix composites have had a stormy development wherever the combination of breakage resistance and strength of conventional technical ceramics such as aluminium oxide, silicon carbide or zirconium oxide prove inadequate. Because even small production errors or scratches on the surface of conventional ceramics can lead to cracks forming, their use in many applications had always been impossible. Only the embedding of fibres proved capable of increasing the resistance to cracks and ductility, breakage strength and thermal shock resistance, sometimes drastically. Typical applications are brake disks in the automotive industry, emergency rail systems for the Transrapid, emergency running systems for rapidly rotating machines or friction pads for clutches.

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