NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 19.02-4435

PROJECT TITLE: Polymer Infiltration/Pyrolysis Processing of Fiber-Reinforced UHTCs

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Because Ultra-High Temperature Ceramics (UHTCs) are among the most stable materials known, they are being developed for high-temperature applications, such as the leading edges of hypersonic control surfaces. The propensity for brittle fracture that has hampered UHTCs advancement to the highest technology readiness level can be ameliorated through the inclusion of continuous fiber-reinforcement. Current processing methods are not amenable to the rapid, low-cost production of fiber-reinforced UHTCs (FR-UHTCs). TPL, Inc. proposes to team with Los Alamos National Laboratory to integrate three novel technologies--preceramic polymers, polymer infiltration/pyrolysis (PIP) processing, and electromagnetic (EM) heating--into an innovative processing system to manufacture FR-UHTCs suitable for use as hypersonic leading edges rapidly and affordably. TPL proposes to demonstrate feasibility of the proposed approach in Phase I through the development of the required precursors, and the successful use of these precursors in the PIP processing of FR-UHTC test specimens. In Phase II, electromagnetic heating methods will be integrated into the process, which will be used to manufacture a demonstration FR-UHTC article suitable for evaluation in the SHARP Program. The proposed Principal Investigator has over ten years experience in the development and application of preceramic polymers, as well as PIP processing of fiber reinforced ceramics.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

FR-UHTCs are an enabling technology for a wide range of hypersonic and reusable launch vehicle designs. The potential to replace metals in high temperature or corrosive environments will make FR-UHTCs very attractive for a variety of applications in the petroleum and chemical industries.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Stuart T. Schwab, Ph.D.
TPL, Inc.
3921 Academy Parkway North, NE
Albuquerque , NM 87109-4416

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

TPL, Inc.
3921 Academy Parkway North, NE
Albuquerque , NM 87109-4416