Porosity Gradient in Hybrid Composite Structure for Thermal Protection

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Luna Innovations Incorporated
1 Riverside Circle, Suite 400, Roanoke, VA, -
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Jiebin Pang
Principal Investigator
(434) 220-2512
Business Contact:
Elizabeth Gaudin
Sr. Contracts Administrator
(540) 557-5881
Research Institution:
University of New Hampshire
Beverly Reid
Service Bldg., 2nd Floor
51 College Road
Durham, NH, 03824-
(603) 862-3750
Nonprofit college or university
ABSTRACT: Many military and aerospace platforms, including a number of airborne and spaceborne vehicles, significantly benefit from new materials that save weight and improve performance. Thermal protection systems (TPS) and extremely high temperature structures are required for a range of hypersonic air and space vehicles. For example, over 20,000 thermal protection ceramic tiles are usually installed on the outside of the Space Shuttle. However, most of the currently used tiles that protect the shuttle from extreme temperature have non-load bearing capability due to their highly porous foam structure. As reported, the loss of the US Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 was caused by the mechanical failure of some tiles on the orbiter. Additionally, the replacement of damaged tiles is difficult and time-consuming. There is a critical need to develop a lightweight TPS technology that increases specific load bearing capability while providing sufficient thermal insulating properties. In this program, Luna Innovations teaming with an academic partner proposes to address this critical need by developing a lightweight, porous, hybrid ceramic composite structure that provides enhanced load bearing and thermal management capabilities. Both computational modeling and experimental study will be addressed to demonstrate the technology feasibility. BENEFIT: If successful, this development effort will yield a lightweight hybrid ceramic composite system that can provide sufficient thermal protection against extremely high temperature (e.g., 2000-3000 degrees F) and enhanced load-bearing capabilities. This novel technology will have significant applications in a range of hypersonic airborne and spaceborne vehicles like the Boeing X-51 Scramjet and the future spacecraft programs as load-bearing thermal protection systems. In addition to the military applications, a variety of civilian applications in aircrafts, automobiles, and structural thermal management systems would also benefit from the developed lightweight hybrid ceramic materials.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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