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How Graphite Helps Aerospace Engineers Push The Limits

The aerospace industry leaves no margin for error, demanding materials that can withstand high altitudes, high speeds, and extreme temperatures upwards of 1,000 degrees to meet the strict safety requirements of the industry.

In these oppressive environments, aerospace engineers require high performance materials that push the envelope for what is possible. The material that possesses the heat resistance and self lubricating characteristics that satisfy these stringent requirements is highly specialized Metcar® graphite.

Graphite’s layered structure and material characteristics allow it to run at higher temperatures for longer than other bearing and seal materials. So, it’s ideal for mechanical parts that help keep aircraft at peak performance.

At Metcar, our proactive approach to develop next generation materials and our unique family of solid, oil free, self lubricating materials continue to set new standards in the aerospace industry.


The predominant concern of aerospace engineers is Efficiency. Metcar highly specialized graphite achieves this by:

  • Increasing the service life of airplanes
  • Improving fuel economy
  • Having the ability to run hotter engines
  • Reducing the weight of airplanes


Graphite’s self lubrication and heat transfer advantage, along with the ability to seal the porosity with our proprietary impregnation process, increases aircraft longevity.

Commercial airplanes stay in service for 25-30 years with lengthening service intervals. Aging aircraft offer airlines an economic advantage to manage their financial risk, including lower depreciation costs and lower capital investments.

Also, with the ever fluctuating price of oil, a balanced fleet of new and aging aircraft offer airlines the flexibility to park or replace aging planes when it’s in their financial interest.

The unique characteristics of graphite to increase longevity give airlines a distinct operating leverage.

Better Fuel Economy

Aerospace engineers aren’t the only party interested in better fuel economy. It continues to be a current hot topic for airlines worldwide since fuel is their single biggest expense, representing up to 33 percent of operating costs.

Metcar Graphite helps achieve better fuel economy by allowing engineers to better manage oil temperatures in the engine’s bearing cavities because of Metcar’s high thermal conductivity. This allows the engines to run at higher temperatures which results in better fuel economy.

In an engine, oxidation is responsible for numerous lubricant problems like coking of the oils creating sediment which decrease fuel efficiency and necessitate replacing the oil and servicing engines more frequently. With longer intervals between maintenance, airplanes can spend more time in service.


Oxidation inhibitors are added to graphite materials to allow them to run at higher temperatures than other bearing and seal materials. transferring heat efficiently by drawing heat away from the interface so it doesn’t overheat. This equates to improved performance.

In our never ending quest to raise the bar for what is possible, our high performance impregnation process, seals porosity in carbon graphite and graphite by use of vacuum and pressure. Impregnation can effectively limit both microporosity and macro porosity. This improves thermal properties and enhances material strength and stiffness.


Aerospace engineers are always looking to achieve a weight advantage with their materials. Graphite is lightweight and has a lower density compared to other aerospace materials.

For example, when an industry giant replaced a single leaded bronze part with a graphite equivalent they saw a weight decrease of 1.5 lbs. In aerospace, every pound saved equates to $5,000 a year in fuel costs. Switching to graphite when possible across an entire fleet adds up to substantial cost reduction for the airline.

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We are unlimited by the materials we have available and have the unique capability to transform what seemed impossible, possible.

At Metcar, there’s only one limit we’re willing to accept. No Limits. You might say that gives us a material advantage.

Consider using carbon/graphite in your next pump application and contact an engineer at Metcar for assistance today.

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