Innovative Thermal Protection System Approach to Reduce Parasitic Structures
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
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Small Business Information
Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
The Millennium Centre, R.D. 1, Box 100B, Triadelphia, WV, 26059
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
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.