Innovative Thermal Protection System Approach to Reduce Parasitic Structures
Small Business Information
Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
The Millennium Centre, R.D. 1, Box 100B, Triadelphia, WV, 26059
AbstractAn opportunity exists to combine the structural elements of advanced launch vehicles with their thermal protection system (TPS) to create an integrated system, free of parasitic stand-offs and supports. An attractive approach, based on the marriage of two exciting technologies: continuously-brazed aluminum matrix composites (AMCs) and thermally-insulating carbon foam, can result in a more weight efficient structure in keeping with NASA's goals to reduce payload-to-orbit costs by orders of magnitude. In the proposed effort, the two materials technologies, developed independently under previous DoD and NASA SBIR efforts, will be demonstrated and tested as a combined system. The insulating carbon foam will be augmented with oxidation inhibitors, plasma sprayed with aluminum, and brazed onto continuously-wound and brazed AMC structures (e.g., tubes or panels). The foam may also be protected at the surface by inconel or Ti-Al sprayed layers or foils to create an oxidation resistant, structural, and weight-efficient TPS. The performance of such constructions will be evaluated by a variety of thermal and mechanical tests to simulate the reentry environment and to quantify its weight and structural benefits over existing TPS.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.