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For Release: March 25, 1996

Keith Henry
NASA Langley Research Center
(804) 864-6120/4

Release No. 96-021


NASA Langley to Brief Companies on Composite Piston Opportunities

Imagine what a maker of racing engines or snowmobiles or outboard motors could do with a lightweight engine that thrives on the demands of high-temperature and high-power output. Now add the advantages of greater fuel economy and much lower hydrocarbon emissions, and it doesn't take much to imagine the consumer appeal of such an engine.

Consumers will have to wait for this engine, but manufacturers do not. The technology to make this engine exists today, and NASA Langley Research Center is offering U.S. companies the opportunity to license it for a variety of markets.

A technical briefing will be held for interested companies Wednesday, March 27, at NASA Langley to explain the advantages of carbon-carbon composite material for high-performance pistons and other applications. The carbon filament and epoxy material was originally developed for high-temperature space and aeronautics applications.

NASA Langley has tested prototype pistons in gasoline engines and has successfully demonstrated the benefits of the new material system. Benefits include a lower density than aluminum alloy and lower reciprocating mass, a low coefficient of thermal expansion, maintainance of strength and stiffness at operating temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and use of leaner fuel-air mixtures for higher fuel economy.

News media interested in this story should call Keith Henry at the number above for further information, interview and visual opportunities.


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