Aerogel Thermal Protection Systems for Aircraft Exhaust Washed Composite Structures
Small Business Information
184 CEDAR HILL STREET, MARLBOROUGH, MA, 01752
AbstractInsulation systems are needed to protect external aircraft structures from the high temperatures generated by engine exhaust gases. Currently, a typical thermal protection system for aircraft applications involves bonding ceramic tiles onto the aircraft. The bonded ceramic tiles are completely exposed and subject to the external environment. Although the tiles provide the necessary thermal protection, they are relatively soft and are degraded by impact with environmental particulates. Such deterioration results in high costs because frequent maintenance and replacement is required to keep the aircraft in operation. Therefore, improved thermal and impact protection systems are needed to improve the reliability and durability of aircraft structures. Aerogels are presently the best thermal insulation material available exhibiting excellent thermal, acoustic, and vibration protection. Aerogel materials have already demonstrated their superiority as both high and low temperature insulation materials. Flexible fiber reinforced aerogel composites were developed during the Phase I effort and were shown to be a feasible solution for protecting aircraft exhaust-washed structures. In Phase II, Aspen Aerogels will team with Northrop Grumman to optimize these materials and incorporate them into systems that can be easily attached to aircraft. The insulation system will be lightweight and result in reduced installation and maintenance costs.
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