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Low Erosion, Lightweight Composites for Reaction Jet Control Systems

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2008 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Plasma Processes, LLC
4914 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL 35811-1558
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2008
Title: Low Erosion, Lightweight Composites for Reaction Jet Control Systems
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8651-08-C-0137
Award Amount: $749,995.00


Reaction Jet Control (RJC) systems will provide agility, maneuverability and end-game lethality to missiles and precision guided munitions. Demonstration of this technology is an important milestone in the development of next generation multi role missiles, such as the Joint Dual Role Air Dominance Missile (JDRADM). The major technical challenge of the RJC program is developing low-cost, lightweight valves to withstand the extreme temperature environment of rocket motor exhaust. Rhenium metal has been successfully demonstrated as a high-temperature, non-eroding metal in solid propellant combustion gas. However, the use of monolithic rhenium components is limited due to cost and weight restrictions. Rhenium substitutes, such as silica-phenolic, carbide ceramics and coated carbon composites, have been designed, but are limited due to unacceptable erosion at elevated temperatures (e.g. 2600 degrees K). The employment of functional rhenium coated graphite instead of expensive, free-standing, components is an innovative way to reduce up to 84% of the weight and cost, while keeping the proven performance of rhenium. An innovative deposition technique, known as EL-Form, was optimized in a Phase I investigation to manufacture RJC components for hot impact testing. Phase II efforts will focus on testing, cost mitigation tasks, RJC component fabrication and component evaluation via hot gas firing by Honeywell. Additionally, pintles for Aerojet's JDRADM RJC design will be fabricated for hot fire testing.

Principal Investigator:

Daniel Butts
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Timothy N. McKechnie
Small Business Information at Submission:

4914 Moores Mill Road Huntsville, AL 35811

EIN/Tax ID: 631100320
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No