THERMAL ABSORBER FOR A SOLAR-HEATED HYDROGEN ROCKET ENGINE

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 15057
Amount: $493,143.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1992
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Ultramet
12173 Montague Street, Pacoima, CA, 91331
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Robert H Tuffias Phd
 Principal Investigator
 (818) 899-0236
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
SOLAR-HEATED HYDROGEN CAN YIELD MORE THAN THREE TIMES THE SPECIFIC IMPULSE OF CHEMICAL REACTIONS FOR ROCKET PROPULSION. THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SOLAR-HEATED HYDROGEN ENGINE DEPENDS ON BREAKTHROUGHS IN HIGH TEMPERATURE MATERIALS. A KEY COMPONENT IS THE SOLAR ABSORBER, WHICH IS HEATED BY FOCUSED SOLAR RADIATION AND THEN TRANSFERS THE HEAT TO THE GASEOUS HYDROGEN PROPELLANT. BY DEVELOPING A POROUS ABSORBER THAT CAN ACHIEVE A PROPELLANT TEMPERATURE OF 3778 K, THE SPECIFIC IMPULSE OF A SOLAR-HEATED HYDROGEN ROCKET CAN BE INCREASED TO 10,385 SECONDS FROM THE PRESENT RHENIUM TUBE LIMIT OF 8,532 SECONDS AT 2778 K. IN THIS PHASE I PROGRAM, ULTRAMET PROPOSES TO DESIGN, FABRICATE, AND TEST A RETICULATE VITREOUS CARBON FOAM SOLAR ABSORBER/HEAT EXCHANGER THAT WILL RESIST TEMPERATURES UP TO 3500OC. THE CARBON FOAM STRUCTURE WILL BE PROTECTED AGAINST CARBON/HYDROGEN REACTIONS BY MEANS OF A REFRACTORY CARBIDE COATING APPLIED BY CHEMICAL VAPOR INFILTRATION (CVI). THE PROPOSED SOLAR ABSORBER WOULD SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE EITHER MISSION LIFE OR PAYLOAD FOR SPACE MISSIONS REQUIRING HIGH PERFORMANCE. THE AIR FORCE ASTRONAUTICS LABORATORY (EDWARDS AFB) HAS LONG SUPPORTED EFFORTS IN THIS AREA AND WOULD BE A PRIME BENEFICIARY OF SUCCESSFUL RESULTS FROM THE PROPOSED PROGRAM. BOTH NASA AND COMMERCIAL FIRMS INVOLVED IN LONG-TERM AND/OR DEEP-SPACE MISSIONS WOULD ALSO HAVE A STRONG INTEREST IN CARRYING THIS EFFORT TO FRUITION.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government