Three men wearing business suits stand in front of a branded aerospace sign.

GE Aerospace and Clemson Announce Research into Advanced Materials for Flight

GE Aerospace and Clemson announced at the Paris Air Show in June that they have received funding from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to continue to develop next-generation materials that can withstand intense temperatures while flying at high speed. Tony Mathis ’86, president and chief executive of GE Edison Works, made the announcement alongside officials from Clemson.

The Air Force Research Laboratory has authorized $10 million in Congressional-appropriated funding to date for the research. A consortium, including GE Aerospace, Clemson, and Missouri University of Science and Technology, is working to develop ceramic-matrix composite materials that would be lighter and better able to withstand extreme temperatures than metal alloys currently in use, yet still strong enough to maneuver during high-speed flight. The materials could have both military and commercial applications.

“Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in the development of next-generation materials that will push the boundaries of what is possible in flight,” Mathis said. “The research we are conducting will grow the U.S. innovation ecosystem, particularly in the area of advanced materials.”

President Clements said the research builds on the University’s established leadership in advanced materials research. “This collaboration will drive innovation in advanced materials and help maintain U.S. competitiveness necessary for the workforce of the future.”

“This collaboration will drive innovation in advanced materials and help maintain U.S. competitiveness necessary for the workforce of the future. ”

President James Clements

The research is supported by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and U.S. Representative James E. Clyburn, D-S.C.

Graham said that investment in research and development is key to maintaining the nation’s competitive edge. “I appreciate Air Force Research Lab and the consortium collaborating on this important project,” Graham said. “Clemson’s continued prioritization of advanced materials research ensures that our state and nation stay at the forefront of technological capabilities in ceramic-matrix composites.”

Clyburn said the research will provide new opportunities for students to work on the cutting edge of advanced materials. “The investments we make today in education and workforce development are critical to building a prosperous future for South Carolina,” he said. “Our universities, including Clemson, are key to this effort and to meeting the critical research needs for a strong national defense while also preparing our workforce for the opportunities of the 21st century.”

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