Polymer Infiltration/Pyrolysis Processing of TMD Missile Propulsion Components
Small Business Information
3921 Academy Parkway North,, N.e., Albuquerque, NM, 87109
Stuart T. Schwab, Ph.d.
AbstractThe proposed research is directed toward demonstrating the feasibility of manufacturing refractory matrix continuous fiber-reinforced ceramic composites (RM-CFCCs) by Polymer Infiltration/Pyrolysis (PIP) processing. RM-CFCCs are currently produced only by Chemical Vapor Infiltration (CVI) which is very costly and time consuming. PIP processing is a simple extension of the methods used to manufacture polymer-matrix composites. PIP processing is flexible, compatible with near net-shape processing and artificial intelligence process control. It has not been possible previously to evaluate PIP processing of RM-CFCCs because the matrix precursors were unavailable. TPL, Inc. proposes to team with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to evaluate the feasibility of producing RM-CFCCs through the PIP process. Through an internally-funded program, SwRI has developed a number of polymeric precursors for refractory ceramics that have viscosities, ceramic yields, etc. suitable for use as matrix precursors in the PIP process. We propose to prepare graphite-fiber reinforced tantalum carbide ceramic composite specimens and to test these materials to determine if they possess adequate physical and mechanical properties for use in the propulsion environment. If the Option is funded, additional specimens will be fabricated and their residual physical and mechanical properties will be determined after exposure to a simulated propulsion environment. The knowledge gained in Phase I will enable the fabrication of prototype components for test firings at end-user facilities in Phase II.
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