Additive Manufacture of Refractory Metal Propulsion Components

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC18P2157
Agency Tracking Number: 189992
Amount: $124,838.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T9
Solicitation Number: STTR_18_P1
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-08-26
Small Business Information
6703 Odyssey Drive Northwest, Suite 304, Huntsville, AL, 35806-3308
DUNS: 080505906
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 John Scott O'Dell
 Senior Materials Engineer
 (256) 851-7653
Business Contact
 Amy Trosclair
Phone: (504) 405-3386
Research Institution
 North Carolina State University at Raleigh
 2701 Sullivan Drive
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7514
 Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)

Niobium alloy (C-103) reaction control system (RCS) chambers have been used on numerous NASA programs.  However at elevated temperatures, the strength of C-103 decreases significantly.  Higher strength niobium alloys have been developed, but these alloys lack the formability of C-103.   Recently, Additive Manufacture (AM) of niobium and C-103 has been demonstrated using powder bed electron beam melting (EBM).  A primary advantage of AM processing is its ability to produce complex components to net shape along with the incorporation of unique features.  However, EBM-AM processing of niobium and C-103 results in elongated, columnar grains, which reduce mechanical properties as compared to a cold worked material.  Therefore, the potential exists to develop and fabricate a higher strength niobium alloy by taking advantage of the net-shape forming capability of AM processing and circumvent the lack of formability of such high strength alloys.  To demonstrate the feasibility of EBM-AM processing high strength niobium alloys, a parameters-characterization-properties study will be conducted during Phase I.  During Phase II, the EBM-AM processing of high strength niobium alloys will be optimized and extensive materials properties testing will be conducted.  The most promising results will then be used to produce a high strength niobium alloy RCS chamber.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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