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Lightweight Hybrid Ablator Incorporating Aerogel-Filled Open-Cell Foam…

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
12173 Montague Street Pacoima, CA 91331-2210
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Lightweight Hybrid Ablator Incorporating Aerogel-Filled Open-Cell Foam Structural Insulator, Phase II
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX10CA26C
Award Amount: $600,000.00


In previous work for NASA and DoD, Ultramet developed lightweight open-cell foam insulators composed of a carbon or ceramic structural foam skeleton filled with a high temperature nanoscale aerogel insulator. Structural integrity and high insulation behavior have been demonstrated when used in combination with a non-ablating, coated carbon/carbon or ceramic matrix composite outer shell. In Phase I, Ultramet demonstrated the initial feasibility of a foam-reinforced hybrid ablator/aerogel insulator thermal protection system (TPS) in which a portion of the thickness (front face) of a low thermal conductivity structural foam was infiltrated with an ablative material and the remainder of the thickness (back face) was filled with the high temperature aerogel insulator. The potential benefit is a reduction in the ablator mass required to reject the aerothermal heat load. The three-dimensionally interconnected foam reinforcement is anticipated to provide increased char retention relative to alternative fiber and honeycomb reinforcements. The vehicle interface temperature will be controlled by the highly insulating aerogel-filled portion of the foam structure. In Phase II, Ultramet will team with Materials Research & Design (MR&D) for continued thermomechanical design optimization, and ARA Ablatives Laboratory for ablator infiltration of Ultramet structural foam. Performance will be evaluated through high heat flux ablation testing and a demonstration of scaleup potential up to 18" diameter.

Principal Investigator:

Brian E. Williams
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Craig N. Ward
Engineering Administrative Mgr
Small Business Information at Submission:

12173 Montague Street Pacoima, CA 91331

EIN/Tax ID: 952662293
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No