Innovative and Cost-Effective Thermal Protection Systems for Navy Reentry Bodies
Navy SBIR 2014.1 - Topic N141-080
SSP - Mr. Mark Hrbacek -
Opens: Dec 20, 2013 - Closes: Jan 22, 2014

N141-080 TITLE: Innovative and Cost-Effective Thermal Protection Systems for Navy Reentry Bodies

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Strategic Weapons Systems: Trident II D5 (ACAT I)

RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted". The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Define and demonstrate cost and weight effective materials for Navy Thermal Protection System applications.

DESCRIPTION: Navy reentry bodies are subject to intense aerodynamic heating rates and surface ablation during descent. A Thermal Protection System (TPS) is used on the outer surface of the body to control ablation and minimize the amount of heat transmitted to the underlying structure. Current Navy TPS technology is based on the family of char-forming carbon/phenolic (C/Ph) materials and was developed in the 1960s. These materials are effective, but a TPS based on C/Ph can be heavy and thick. It is known that a variety of char-forming (thermo-set and thermo-plastic) and non-char forming materials have become available for fire/flame resistant applications since the development of the current Navy system. High performance structural and non-structural insulation materials have also become available, and there may also be utility in evaluating nano-material solutions.

This topic seeks innovative solutions for improving the performance of the Navy Reentry TPS over the current C/Ph system. Navy TPS are deployed in Submarine Launched Missile Systems and cost, weight effectiveness are the primary performance metrics. However, proposed solutions must be also be free of light metal contaminants; and must be maintenance-free.

Proposed solutions must be fabricated from US Domestic sourced materials.

PHASE I: Define and develop TPS concepts for improved performance over current Carbon/Phenolic TPS materials. Example thermal loads for Reentry Bodies are given in Ref. [1], as are heat loads for typical ground test evaluations, survivability requirements and performance of current systems. Phase I effort will perform thermal analyses of proposed concept, and predict TPS performance against survivability requirements during flight. Define criteria for Phase II success.

PHASE II: Fabricate and test prototype TPS concept for laboratory and/or ground testing. Define scale-up manufacturing process (if necessary), develop production and life-cycle costs. Finalize Phase II design in response to ground test results, and produce additional materials to support material characterization.

PHASE III: Assuming successful demonstration in Phase II, TPS concept will be transitioned to Reentry Bodies for Navy Strategic Systems or Conventional Strike Hypersonic Boost Glide Vehicles.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Light weight, cost effective TPSs have potential use in Commercial Space vehicles. In addition, these type TPS materials have potential application as fire/flame protection materials for military/commercial aircraft interiors, and as under-hood, or crew compartment, fire protection for commercial/military vehicles.

1. Barczi, K. A., Buchanan, A. L., Jensen,D. L., and Brunsvold, R., "Ablation Testing of a Non-Rayon Carbon Phenolic Heatshield Material in Preparation of Fielding a Flight Test Vehicle.", AIAA Missiles Sciences Conference, 7-9 November, 2000, Monterey, California.

2. Nam, J.-D., and Seferis, J.C.,"Generalized Composite Degradation Kinetics for Polymeric Systems under Isothermal and Non Isothermal Conditions", J.Poly.Sci, Part B: Physics, Vol. 30, 455-463 (1992).

3. Chen, Y.-K., and Milos, F.S., "Nonequilibrium Ablation of Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator", Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 49, 894-904 (2012).

4. Tate, J.S., Kabakov, D., and Koo, J.,"Carbon/Phenolic Nanocomposites for Ablative Applications", SAMPE Journal, Vol. 47, 36-43 (2011).

KEYWORDS: Thermal protection; strategic; reentry; heatshield; ablation; composite; insulator

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