Lightweight, High Conductivity Metal Matrix Composite

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS8-01144
Agency Tracking Number: 012498
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2002
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
4914 D Moores Mill Road, Huntsville, AL, 35811
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Timothy McKechnie
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 851-7653
Business Contact
 Timothy McKechnie
Title: President
Phone: (256) 851-7653
Research Institution
Innovative technologies are needed to increase performance and reduce life-cycle cost of rocket engine components. Fabrication of lightweight engine components such as injector faceplates and nozzle ramps offer great potential for increasing thrust to weight ratios and reducing costs. Current research is being conducted on high temperature ceramics and ceramic matrix composites (CMC). Although these materials offer high temperature capability, major challenges exist for improving impact and fatigue resistance. Robust materials are needed to replace existing hardware for the Space Launch Initiative and long term 3rd generation RLV technologies. Plasma Processes, Inc. proposes to fabricate lightweight, high conductivity metal matrix composites (MMC). The composites will be formed to near net shape with a B4C or Al2O3 reinforced copper-based matrix. Diamond and carbon reinforcements will also be investigated to provide enhanced thermal conductivity. The new composites will offer as much as 50% reduced weight and higher temperature capability as compared to existing hardware and provide better fatigue resistance than monolithic ceramic or CMC materials. Additionally, the unique process will allow a HfC or ZrO2 functional gradient protective surface to be formed into the hot side of the composite, which increases the operating temperature capability, protects the composite from oxidation, and significantly increases life.

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

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