Carbon-carbon composites (C/C) are currently used as hot structures in a variety of extreme environments encountered during hypersonic flight, rocket launch and atmospheric entry, descent and landing. Today their use is limited by their expensive and time-consuming manufacturing process. Delivery times of over six months from order placement are common, a result of the long manufacturing process and the limited number of suppliers. With the domestic need for C/C parts increasing, TDA believes that there is a currently an outstanding opportunity to enter the C/C manufacturing market with a far less expensive, high performance C/C product. We have previously developed a process for economical manufacture of a non-graphitizing resin with an exceedingly high char yield. We now propose to use our demonstrated expertise in carbon manufacturing and commercialization to properly formulate and then use or resin to manufacture C/C parts in days to weeks, instead of months. TDA has therefore proposed a process that eliminates multiple densification cycles while arriving at the same density of the finished product, with equivalent mechanical and thermal properties.
The proposed improved C/C manufacturing process would be used for hot structures for a variety of propulsion systems, including upper stage rocket engines (including those of the Space Launch System), in-space propulsion systems, Lunar/Mars ascent/descent propulsion, nuclear thermal rockets, hot gas valves and separation/attitude control systems. TDA’s process will shorten development and procurement schedules, thereby providing substantial cost savings to all programs that utilize our C/C.
Several DoD agencies desire improved C/C manufacturing for their hypersonic vehicle programs, which make extensive use of C/C hot structures as acreage panels and in the combustor. The Air Force would apply the proposed technology to their Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) and ballistic missile programs. C/C parts are also of interest to gas turbine manufacturers like General Electric.