Aerogel Thermal Protection Systems for Aircraft Exhaust Washed Composite Structures

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-04-C-5309
Agency Tracking Number: F031-2000
Amount: $749,641.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: 2003
Solicitation Topic Code: AF03-115
Solicitation Number: 2003.1
Small Business Information
DUNS: 012924069
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Wendell Rhine
 (508) 481-5058
Business Contact
 Kang Lee
Phone: (508) 481-5058
Research Institution
Insulation 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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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