NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 X8.01-8631
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Detachable, Human-Rated, Ablative Environmentally Compliant TPS
PROPOSAL TITLE: Lightweight Hybrid Ablator Incorporating Aerogel-Filled Open-Cell Foam Structural Insulator, Phase II

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

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

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In previous work for NASA and DoD, Ultramet developed lightweight open-cell foam insulators composed of a carbon or ceramic structural foam skeleton filled with a high temperature nanoscale aerogel insulator. Structural integrity and high insulation behavior have been demonstrated when used in combination with a non-ablating, coated carbon/carbon or ceramic matrix composite outer shell. In Phase I, Ultramet demonstrated the initial feasibility of a foam-reinforced hybrid ablator/aerogel insulator thermal protection system (TPS) in which a portion of the thickness (front face) of a low thermal conductivity structural foam was infiltrated with an ablative material and the remainder of the thickness (back face) was filled with the high temperature aerogel insulator. The potential benefit is a reduction in the ablator mass required to reject the aerothermal heat load. The three-dimensionally interconnected foam reinforcement is anticipated to provide increased char retention relative to alternative fiber and honeycomb reinforcements. The vehicle interface temperature will be controlled by the highly insulating aerogel-filled portion of the foam structure. In Phase II, Ultramet will team with Materials Research & Design (MR&D) for continued thermomechanical design optimization, and ARA Ablatives Laboratory for ablator infiltration of Ultramet structural foam. Performance will be evaluated through high heat flux ablation testing and a demonstration of scaleup potential up to 18" diameter.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed foam-reinforced hybrid ablator-insulator may meet NASA requirements for increased TPS heat flux capability and reduced mass. NASA applications include the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle for which entry velocities ranging from 8 km/s for International Space Station missions to as high as 15 km/s for Moon mission return are anticipated, and planetary sample return missions. Use of ablatives in rocket nozzles has been extensive, and NASA also stands to benefit in that application.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial applications for the proposed advanced TPS include conventional satellite launch system solid rocket motors, nanosatellite launch systems, launch platform protection, and tactical solid rocket motors, internal and external motor case insulation, and nosetips.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Launch and Flight Vehicle
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Structural Modeling and Tools
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26