Bradley Perrett, Asia-Pacific bureau chief of the Washington-based Aviation Week & Space Technology says that Chinese demand for rare metal - Rhenium reveals improved Chinese combat aircraft engines.China needs large supplies of rhenium — a rare metal that increases the temperature-resistance of turbine blades — to design and produce an engine that can handle higher internal temperatures, increasing performance and durability. Perrett claims that China is actually following the global pattern of rhenium consumption because around 80% of the figure is used to produce aviation turbines. The use of rhenium can imply two upward steps in turbine metallurgy, the expert said. It can be used to improve nickel-based superalloys, while those alloys can be formed as single-crystal blades.
Both technologies allow a turbine, especially a high-pressure one, to operate at a greater temperatures, according to Perrett."Rhenium melts at 3,182C (5,759F), compared with 1,455C for nickel," said Perrett, "The improved superalloys are almost certainly earmarked for combat aircraft engines, such as the WS-10 Taihang, which powers the J-10 and J-11 fighters.
AVIC Plans Firm to Focus on Engine Design and Production
State-backed aircraft manufacturer Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) will set up an independent company to focus on designing and making airplane engines, sources with knowledge of the matter say.
The company will consist of the AVIC's engine design and manufacturing companies, one of the sources said. Its name will be Aero Engine Corp. of China, and it will be formed by the end of the year.
AVIC has 23 listed companies, including three in Hong Kong, and its total market value is 200 billion yuan. It is the first military company in the country to enter Fortune magazine's list of the world's top 500 companies by revenue.
AVIC has three listed companies involved in engine design, manufacturing and control system research. They are Xi'an Aero-Engine Plc., Sichuan Chengfa Aero Science & Technology Co. Ltd. and AVIC Aero-Engine Controls Co. Ltd.
AVIC also set up unlisted AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Co. Ltd in 2009 to handle the designing and manufacture of turbofan engines for large passenger planes.
The move is aimed at fixing a bottleneck facing the country's development of large passenger and cargo planes, the source said.
Lin Zuoming, the president of AVIC, will stay in his post, even though his expertise is in engine manufacturing, a separate source with knowledge of the matter said.
Lin has said in the past that his company will invest 10 billion yuan in the engine industry from 2011 to 2015.
Chen Rui, the Communist Party chief of AVIC's engine sector, said ithat a unified system of design and manufacturing should be set up to replace the current model.
Only a few countries, such as the United States, Britain, Russia and France, can independently develop and manufacture airplane engines.