On 18 June 2015, an Air France Airbus A320 made its first commercial flight with an engine equipped with an exhaust cone in ceramic matrix composite (CMC), a new material developed by Safran. Light and strong, this material can withstand extreme temperature levels and environments.
5,000 hours of tests should take place until 2017, on European commercial flights operated by Air France. During this period, Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance will provide the service monitoring, in close collaboration with the Safran subsidiaries who designed and built the part, Herakles and Snecma.
Before being put into service on commercial flights, the exhaust prototype was tested on the ground and on test benches, on test flights by Airbus A320 and received certification by the EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency in April.
With these tests, Air France is illustrating its desire to use innovative solutions that help reduce fuel consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions.
For over thirty years, Safran has been developing and marketing composites made of carbon or ceramic fibres and matrices that can resist high temperatures, for space , aviation, military and industrial applications. For the same function, they represent a mass gain of 40% to 50% compared with a conventional alloy.