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Fine Grained Tungsten Claddings for Cermet Based NTP Systems

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX14CM06C
Agency Tracking Number: 125218
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: H2.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2012
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-04-25
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-04-24
Small Business Information
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811-1558
United States
DUNS: 799114574
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 John O'Dell
 Senior Materials Engineer
 (256) 851-7653
Business Contact
 Timothy McKechnie
Title: President
Phone: (256) 851-7653
Research Institution

In October 2011, NASA initiated the Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) program to evaluate the feasibility and affordability of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP). A critical aspect of the program is to develop a robust, stable nuclear fuel. One of the nuclear fuel configurations currently being evaluated is a cermet-based material comprised of uranium dioxide (UO2) particles encased in a tungsten matrix (W). To prevent excessive fuel loss from reaction with the hot hydrogen gas and uranium hydride formation, dense, fine-grained tungsten claddings are needed. Recently, advanced additive manufacturing techniques (EL-Form and Vacuum Plasma Spray Forming) have been developed that enable the deposition of coatings and near-net-shape refractory metal components with high density and tailored microstructures. The Phase I investigation produced fine-grained W claddings using EL-Form and VPS processing techniques. Testing showed the W claddings were well bonded to surrogate nuclear fuel element materials, and the W claddings were vacuum tight. During Phase II, the techniques developed during Phase I will be optimized, and W claddings on full size cermet fuel elements will be developed and characterized. Subscale and full-size test articles will be produced and delivered to NASA-MSFC for hot hydrogen testing in the Compact Fuel Element Environment Test (CFEET) facility and the Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environment Simulator (NTREES).

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

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