NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 O2.02-8895
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Integrated Ceramic Matrix Composite and Carbon/Carbon Structures for Large Rocket Engine Nozzles and Nozzle Extensions

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)
Matthew J Wright
Pacoima, CA 91331 - 2210
(818) 899-0236 Extension :124

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Low-cost access to space demands durable, cost-effective, efficient, and low-weight propulsion systems. Key components include rocket engine nozzles and nozzle extensions for boost and upper stages. Options for such nozzles include actively cooled alloys, ablatives, and radiation-cooled composites and metals, each of which has known limitations. Actively cooled structures are complex and costly. Ablatives are heavy and limit performance due to shape instability. Radiation-cooled composites are costly, have a limited production base, and are size-limited. Radiation-cooled metals face low temperature limits, require significant machining for acceptable weight, and require protective coatings. These limitations are highlighted by the J-2X nozzle extension, which uses a highly machined metallic structure to minimize weight and requires an emissivity coating to maintain safe operating temperature. Carbon/carbon (C/C) provides an attractive alternative, but has joining ability, oxidation resistance, and manufacturability limitations. Ultramet previously developed and demonstrated carbon fiber-reinforced refractory ceramic matrix composites (CMC) for liquid propellant applications up to 4300?F. Ultramet has also demonstrated the integration of lightweight C/C with CMCs in a unique system comprising a C/C primary structure with an integral CMC liner or jacket. This system bridges the weight and performance gap between C/C and CMCs. The CMC provides enhanced mechanical properties and environmental resistance while the C/C provides a lightweight and cost-effective structure. In this project, the feasibility and benefits of applying this integrated material system for large liquid rocket engine nozzles will be validated. Subsequent work will address scaleup and will include a C/C producer. The fully developed system will combine the low weight and cost-effectiveness of C/C with the strength and durability of CMCs to support a range of potential NASA missions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed project directly targets future launch and exploration vehicle propulsion systems as potential end-use applications. Of particular interest are large boost-scale nozzles and upper stage nozzle extensions, similar in scale to the J-2X nozzle extension or to the niobium alloy nozzles used on the SpaceX Merlin engine. More generally, the versatility of this concept makes it relevant to a variety of hot structures including combustion chambers, leading edges, thermal protection systems, airframe structures, and other propulsion components.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed integrated ceramic matrix composite and carbon/carbon material system would be directly applicable to a wide range of aerospace and defense applications that require low-cost material possessing, ultrahigh temperature oxidation stability, high strength, acceptable joinability, and low mass. These applications include propulsion components such as combustion chambers, rocket nozzles, hot gas generators, and hot gas valves, using both liquid and solid propellants. Defense applications include uses in the high temperature combustion environment of advanced gun barrels, where the use of C/C is desirable if survivability and joining 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.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Joining (Adhesion, Welding)
Launch Engine/Booster
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Processing Methods
Simulation & Modeling
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43