You are here

Thermal Shock Tolerant Tantalum Carbide Forming MAX Phase Materials

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Missile Defense Agency
Contract: HQ0860-22-C-7106
Agency Tracking Number: B2-3114
Amount: $1,475,361.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: MDA20-002
Solicitation Number: 20.2
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-03-21
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-03-20
Small Business Information
300 E. Swedesford Rd
Wayne, PA 19087-1858
United States
DUNS: 966563884
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Gary Tiscia
 (203) 530-5699
Business Contact
 Gary Tiscia
Phone: (203) 530-5699
Research Institution

MAX phase materials are metallic ceramics known for combining favorable mechanical properties (such as good machinability and high elastic moduli) with good thermal shock resistance, low thermal expansion coefficients, and rigidity at elevated temperatures. In general, the MAX phases are a class of material consisting of a combination of three types of elements: M (an early transition metal), A (a group A element), and X (carbon and/or nitrogen). These materials are often referred to as ‘211’, ‘312’, ‘413’, etc., based on the amount of each element in the compound. Ta4AlC3, for instance, is considered a ‘413’ MAX phase material. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) SBIR topic to which Materials Research & Design, Inc. (MR&D) is responding seeks innovative solutions for the development of structural MAX phase materials to improve the technology readiness levels of constituent technologies essential to a high capacity future interceptor. Specifically, the platforms of interest are second and third stage rocket motors, with the goal being to develop MAX phase materials which are able to withstand the mechanical and thermal stresses of terminal missile defense maneuvers. During MR&D’s Phase I program, a combined analytical and experimental proof-of-principle study was conducted to demonstrate the theoretical feasibility of using a tantalum-based MAX phase material – the so-called ‘413’ MAX phase, Ta4AlC3 – in solid propellant environments relevant to second and third stage rocket motors. This was accomplished through the successful synthesis of various Ta4AlC3 materials, XRD/EDS/SEM evaluations, elevated temperature thermomechanical characterization, and an extensive elastic-plastic finite element analysis to assess theoretical survivability under various conditions. Ultimately, MR&D found that the Ta4AlC3 MAX phase material showed feasibility as a candidate material in thermal shock environments over a wide range of conditions. The Phase II program will build on this work in several ways, ultimately culminating with prototype components being subjected to various solid propellant combustion environments. MR&D has enlisted the support of a cadre of subject matter experts from the materials field. The Phase II team will include Dr. Michel Barsoum of Drexel University, Greenleaf Corporation, Penn State University, Southern Research, Dr. William Carty of Alfred University, and Northrop Grumman (Elkton, MD). Approved for Public Release | 22-MDA-11102 (22 Mar 22)

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

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government