A UCF i-Corps team enables major efficiency leap. The ability to have a more durable, lighter, and cost effective materials leads to supreme components, particularly in the aerospace and power generation industries.

The Center of Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER) Lab, at the University of Central Florida, developed an innovative Polymer Derived Ceramic Composite (PDCC). PDCC offers revolutionary characteristics which are heavily desired in many high-temperature applications, such as increased-temperature durability and lower weight current materials.

“PDCC Heat Exchangers will play an integral role in up-and-coming Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Gas (SCO2) Turbines, without these heat exchangers the machines are severely limited” says Dr. Jayanta Kapat, Team Principle Investigator, and Director of CATER. Supercritical Carbon Dioxide cycles provide an avenue for more efficient power generation than current gas turbines on the market. Additionally, SCO2 offers a lower carbon footprint and smaller capital costs associated with turbine hardware.

However, in the immediate future, there are other applications that could benefit from PDCC. The aerospace industry has a need for lighter and more cost-effective heat exchangers and heat shields, the nuclear industry desires cheaper and radiation/temperature resistant piping, and the combined cycle gas turbine industry would benefit from cheaper and longer-lasting components.

The i-Corps program has enabled us to gather information on all of these industries. We have found that there is a considerable interest in the qualities of PDCC in all of these applications, and that we have a strong clientele base, particularly with heat exchangers. The i-Corps program gave us many invaluable resources with industry, and assurance that this venture has potential.

Our team consists of an undergraduate student, two graduate students, two Ph. D’s, and an industry mentor: Caleb Morrison, entrepreneurial lead; Marcel Otto; Brandon Ealy; Dr. Jayanta Kapat, Principle Investigator; Dr. Raju Nagaiah, Co-Principle Investigator; George Gramatikas, Industry Mentor, respectively.

PDCC has potential to benefit a whole host of industries, as a transition toward better materials opens up new opportunities for each industry. Ultimately, we aim to constantly develop and apply our materials so that we stay competitive and innovative within the current worldwide market.