NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Thermal Materials and Management
PROPOSAL TITLE:Lightweight Ultrahigh Temperature CMC-Encased C/C Structure for Reentry and Hypersonic Applications, Phase II

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
12173 Montague St
Pacoima ,CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899 - 0236

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Gautham   Ramachandran
Pacoima, CA  91331 -2210
(818) 899 - 0236

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Future reentry and hypersonic vehicles require advanced lightweight leading edge thermal protection systems that can provide the dual functionality of thermal/oxidation protection and structural capability. In Phase I, Ultramet demonstrated the feasibility of combining the light weight of carbon/carbon (C/C) with the long-duration oxidation resistance of ceramic matrix composites (CMC) in a unique laminate composite structure. This structure, composed of a C/C body with an integral CMC casing, effectively bridges the gap in weight and performance between coated C/C and bulk CMCs. Fabrication and initial performance of this laminate composite structure was demonstrated through an innovative variant of Ultramet's melt infiltration refractory composite processing technology. In its bulk form, this same CMC has survived >4300oF liquid propellant rocket engine testing at NASA GRC and >5200oF hot-gas testing at the Air Force LHMEL facility. Application of this reinforced ceramic material to a predominantly C/C structure would create a highly innovative material with the potential to achieve the long-sought goal of long-term, cyclic, high-temperature use of C/C in an oxidizing environment. In Phase II, Ultramet will team with Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney for process optimization and comprehensive testing of this lightweight, high strength, ultrahigh temperature oxidation-resistant material system. The fully developed system will have strength that is comparable to that of C/C, low density comparable to that of C/SiC, and ultrahigh temperature (>4000oF) oxidation stability. It will not only be able to withstand the aggressive environments that are encountered by reentry and hypersonic vehicles, but also will have the structural capability required for advanced airframe and engine components.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed project directly targets the Falcon program as an end-use application. More generally, the applications of such a material system to future reentry and hypersonic vehicles would be limitless. The versatility of this concept makes it relevant to leading edge components as well as other hot structures exposed to oxidizing environments. Uncooled combustion chambers are one of the many examples of this applicability.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed refractory composite material would be directly applicable to a wide rage of aerospace and defense applications that require low-cost material possessing, ultrahigh temperature oxidation stability, high strength, and low mass. These applications include propulsion components such as combustion chambers, rocket nozzles, hot gas generators, and valves, using both liquid and solid propellants. Defense applications could include the high temperature combustion environment of advanced gun barrels, where the use of C/C is desirable if survivability issues can be solved. Non-defense related uses may include components related to energy generation in which use temperature, environmental reactivity, and economy are increasingly demanding.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52