The aerospace and defence industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the pressing need for modernisation and the growing importance of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and unmanned systems. In the last three years alone, there have been over 174,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defence industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Advanced Materials in Aerospace, Defence & Security: Ceramic composite hollow blades. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 262,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the aerospace and defence industry, there are 180+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Ceramic composite hollow blades is a key innovation area in advanced materials

Many aircraft turbine blades constructed from ceramic composites include hollow blades to allow for air circulation, cooling the engine and allowing it to run optimally.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defence companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of ceramic composite hollow blades.

Key players in ceramic composite hollow blades – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defence industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to ceramic composite hollow blades

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
General Electric 1832 Unlock company profile
Raytheon Technologies 1310 Unlock company profile
Safran 1059 Unlock company profile
Rolls-Royce Holdings 890 Unlock company profile
Siemens 612 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 187 Unlock company profile
IHI 158 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 88 Unlock company profile
Doosan 69 Unlock company profile
CDP Equity 49 Unlock company profile
Alstom 46 Unlock company profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 27 Unlock company profile
JGC Holdings 26 Unlock company profile
Applied Materials 25 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 25 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 21 Unlock company profile
OC Oerlikon 15 Unlock company profile
Textron 12 Unlock company profile
CEA 11 Unlock company profile
Mecachrome France 10 Unlock company profile
Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zurich 9 Unlock company profile
Howmet Aerospace 9 Unlock company profile
TOCALO 8 Unlock company profile
LG 8 Unlock company profile
Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt 8 Unlock company profile
Deutsche Lufthansa 8 Unlock company profile
Plansee Holding 7 Unlock company profile
Lockheed Martin 7 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 7 Unlock company profile
UT-Battelle 6 Unlock company profile
Intelligent Power Generation 6 Unlock company profile
Shimadzu 6 Unlock company profile
Office National d'Etudes et Aerospace Research 6 Unlock company profile
Porsche Automobil Holding 5 Unlock company profile
Theoration For Penn State 5 Unlock company profile
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions 5 Unlock company profile
Reaction Engines 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Among aerospace and defence companies, General Electric is one of the leading patent filers in ceramic matrix composites for turbines. The company is a leading manufacturer of aircraft engines. It produces the GE9X, which is installed on Boeing’s widebody 777X and is one of the most powerful jet engines in the world. The lining of the GE9X’s combustor and turbine shroud is made of ceramic matrix composites, which can withstand much higher temperatures than most metals, allowing for the engine to safely deliver massive thrust. Other key patent filers include industry-leading engine manufacturers such as Raytheon Technologies, Rolls-Royce, and Safran.

In terms of application diversity, Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft leads the pack, followed by Howmet Aerospace and Safran. By geographic reach, Mecachrome France holds the top position, followed by Textron and Howmet Aerospace.

Composite materials are being considered as an option to reinforce the missile bodies and airframes, which undergo high degrees of aerodynamic stress and heating. These materials can endure the stresses of manoeuvring at very high, even hypersonic, speeds. Composites comprised of filaments of materials, such as glass, boron, graphite, Kevlar, or SiC, set in resin may prove to be an option for high-strength reinforcing materials, improving the longevity of turbines.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defence industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Defence.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.