US Faces New Competition As Shark Skin Technology Could Help China Surpass Washington In Jet Engine Race

In a significant technological breakthrough, Chinese scientists have developed a new jet engine technology inspired by the skin of sharks. This innovation is poised to enhance the efficiency of turbofan engines, marking a notable advancement in the aviation industry.

What Happened: Chinese researchers have engineered a turbofan engine with a novel shark skin structure, slashing drag by 10% and boosting efficiency, South China Morning Post reported on Friday.

The team, led by Zhang Shaoping from the AECC Sichuan Gas Turbine Establishment, utilized advanced 3D printing to develop the high-strength titanium alloy component. Their findings, detailed in a peer-reviewed paper in April, suggest this could be a significant step for China in the global aviation engine race.

While the U.S. Air Force has shifted focus from developing new engines to upgrading existing ones, China’s advancements, including the implementation of export restrictions on sophisticated jet engine components, signal a potential shift in the balance of aerospace technology power.

According to John R. Sneden, propulsion director at the US Air Force's Life Cycle Management Centre, the U.S. is at risk of losing its lead in propulsion technology to China.

See Also: Amid China Threat, Taiwan Faces Internal Crisis As Thousands Protest In Taipei Over Controversial Legisla

The breakthrough by Zhang’s team represents a leap in manufacturing capabilities, producing a component larger and more complex than similar parts made by GE using laser 3D printing. The intermediate casing, over a metre in diameter, features bionic grooves and can withstand significant loads despite its thinness.

Despite challenges in achieving mass production, the researchers are optimistic that their technology will revolutionize the aviation industry, allowing for lighter and more efficient engines with improved performance and manufacturability.

Why It Matters: China’s recent tightening of export controls on aviation and aerospace equipment for national security reasons has significant implications for the global market. This move comes amid U.S. restrictions and could impact major tech companies like Broadcom and Advanced Micro Devices.

Furthermore, regulatory challenges have affected major aerospace players such as Boeing, whose deliveries were hit by a regulatory battery review.

Read Next: US Taps Brakes On AI Chip Sales To Middle East Over National Security Concerns

Photo by chonrawit boonprakob via Shutterstock

This story was generated using Benzinga Neuro and edited by Pooja Rajkumari

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: NewsPoliticsTechGeneralaviation and aerospaceChinaJet EnginesPooja Rajkumarishark skinStories That Matter
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!