By Kari Williamson

The JV, NGS Advanced Fibers, will be based in Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan, with facilities in Toyama-shi, Toyama.

Nippon Carbon Company will have a 50% share in the silicon carbide joint venture and GE and Safran with a 25% share each.

"Silicon carbide continuous fibre, Nicalon, is a ceramic fibre developed, manufactured and marketed by our company, which combines lightness and strength with high thermal resistance even in air," says Shigeo Tajima, President of Nippon Carbon Co.

"Demand for aircraft engine components is set to increase ten-fold over the next decade, and we plan to meet this growth in the market for high-tech materials by establishing the joint venture."

Sanjay Correa, Vice President and General Manager of CMC Programs at GE, adds: "Nicalon is important to our development of ceramic matrix composite materials (CMCs) that will differentiate our next-generation of aircraft engines.

"CMCs will bring a multitude of benefits to our customers, including reduced weight, enhanced performance and improved durability. GE is expanding the use of CMCs in its new engines under development, and this joint venture will enable us to ensure a consistent supply of this material to meet our projected demand."

The three companies anticipate their demand for CMCs to increase tenfold over the next decade. The newest engine in development for CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture between GE and Snecma (part of Safran group), is the LEAP engine for the next-generation of narrow-body aircraft, including the COMAC C919, Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX.

The LEAP engine will incorporate CMC material in its engine components, and demand has soared to more than 3300 LEAP engines on order for the three airframes it will power.