High Pressure Sintered Nanotubes - Fullerenes for Propulsion Systems

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Diamond Materials, Inc.
120 Centennial Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


We propose to develop and demonstrate new ablation/erosion resistant carbon material for application in nanosatellite propulsion systems. Our newly invented conductive superhard, high bond strength ¿polymerized¿ fullerene materials will achieve the high ablation and erosion resistance. The new materials called Fullertubite and DiamoniteTM (patent pending) have properties that make them ideal for use in the micro-engines to be used in orbit upkeeping and transfer. The new materials will allow fabrication of nozzles and engine system elements that are subjected to very high temperature gases expanding from the reaction chamber. DiamoniteTM is the third hardest material after diamond and c-BN; it is isotropic, and highly fracture and abrasion resistant. The bonds of the material are predominantly sp3, endowing it with a low sputter rate along with high erosion resistance. It¿s also electrically conductive, which makes it suitable for electrical micropropulsion systems. Fullertubite/DiamoniteTM are formed by the high-pressure (>1 GPa), high-temperature (>400¿C) sintering of nanotubes and C60 fullerenes into an isotropic non-crystalline material using DMIs developed sintering technology. Phase I will focus on proof-of-principle development of Fullertubite/DiamoniteTM materials and determining their ablation/erosion, thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties at engine conditions. In Phase II the Fullertubite/DiamoniteTM micro engine parts will be fabricated and tested in a nanosatellite propulsion systems.