Low Erosion, Lightweight Composites for Reaction Jet Control Systems

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8651-08-C-0137
Agency Tracking Number: F071-149-3006
Amount: $749,995.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: AF071-149
Solicitation Number: 2007.1
Small Business Information
4914 Moores Mill Road, Huntsville, AL, 35811
DUNS: 799114574
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Daniel Butts
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 851-7653
Business Contact
 Timothy McKechnie
Title: President
Phone: (256) 851-7653
Email: timmck@plasmapros.com
Research Institution
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°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.

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

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