In an era of both declining NASA budgets and demanding space goals, the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate has elected to address foundational research problems for aeronautics. To this end, the Subsonic Fixed Wing (SFW) Project, within the Fundamental Aeronautics Program, has selected challenging goals which anticipate an increasing emphasis on aviation’s impact upon the global issue of environmental responsibility. These SFW project goals are greatly reduced noise, reduced emissions and reduced fuel consumption. Specific goals, selected by a combination of systems analysis, experience and industry input, are generational in approach, addressing 25 to 30 years of technology development. Successful implementation of these demanding goals will require development of new materials and structural approaches within gas turbine propulsion technology. The Materials and Structures discipline, within the SFW project, comprise cross-cutting technologies ranging from basic investigations to component validation in laboratory environments. Material advances are teamed with innovative designs in a multidisciplinary approach with the resulting technology advances directed to promote the goals of reduced noise and emissions along with improved performance. For propulsion needs, these technologies have been grouped into three basic categories. The first is improved hot section materials for hotter engines with minimal cooling requirements to promote reduced NOx and fuel burn. Among the technologies of interest have been new alloy compositions and improved thermal barrier coatings systems with improved capabilities. The second category being investigated for propulsion applications is lightweight and multifunctional systems which will permit reduced fuel burn via weight reduction in the engine and its surrounding structure. An example of this technology is High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMA) for actuation applications requiring large displacements and low frequencies such as chevrons and variable area nozzles for high bypass ratio engines. The final area under investigation is the concept of the more electric aircraft, which at this time is focused primarily on turboelectric technology as a available to make reasonable progress. Technologies from very basic fundamental research to nearer term concepts are included. Additionally, vigorous supplementation of in-house capabilities is revolutionary approach to the entire SFW design space. Major challenges to be addressed in this field include improved cryocoolers and superconducting materials. A brief overview is presented of the current materials and structures research focused upon propulsion applications within the NASA Subsonic Fixed Wing Project. As such, it does not comprise the entirety of materials and structures research for gas turbine engines at NASA. Several other projects also include research of this type to address their specific project goals.

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