During the past 3-years, Goodman Technologies (GT) in partnership with the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, (UHM, a Minority Serving Institution) have demonstrated Silicon Carbide (SiC) based nanopastes which are 3D printable, and moldable via our proprietary Z-process (technically Polymer Matrix Composites, PMCs, prior to firing). Nanopaste, nanoresin and nanotape technologies have been used to make Continuous Fiber Ceramic Nano-Composites (CFCNCs), a very special type of ceramic matrix composites (CMC) with engineered properties and multifunctionality. We are proposing a purposefully engineered silicon carbide-based CFCNC innovation to NASA for this topic area which overcomes the issues of delamination and will have tremendous payoff for spacecraft TPS and hypersonics in general. Some of the enabling printable nanopaste technology originated with GT’s very first Phase I NASA SBIR Contract #NNX17CM29P, and we have shown the ability to join large parts via an additive manufacturing process to fabricate seemless, monolithic structures. We also have the ability to co-cure CMC with PMC and carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites. We have been able to join these materials to both aluminum and steel. We have also produced CMC fasterners with up to 100 threads per inch for precision mechanical joining. During the Phase I STTR we propose to manufacture sample CFCNC coupons, perform ASTM testing to obtain mechanical properties (strength, strain, toughness), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to look at the nano/micro-structure, and establish initial high-temperature performance via two different heating methods, one proprietary. We will evaluate the efficacy of our "Cure-On-The-Fly" technologies for co-curing, and explore both co-curing and post-curing for adhesive bonding the CFCNC to underlying substrates. We will work with NASA to generate a Phase II plan that results in the design, manufacture, and high-temperature, high heat flux testing of a meter-class CFCNC TPS.
NASA New Frontier misisions and in situ robotic science missions require heat shields and thermal protection systems for Venus probes and landers, Saturn and Uranus probes, and high-speed sample return missions from Comets and Asteroids. The Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) is, of course, spearheading the efforts to expand a permanent human presence beyond low-Earth orbit, i.e., to the Moon and to Mars. Many large surface area TPS for spacecraft are needed.
Non-NASA applications of low cost, rapidly manufactured CFCNC TPS are Commercial Space Programs and Programs of Record for the Department of Defense. GT’s technology provides t a retrofit opportunity for missiles, missile fairings, aeroshells and other strategic air platforms and cruise missiles.