Diamonite(TM)-bonded C/C Composite for Thermal Protection of Re-entry Bodies

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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

Abstract

We propose to develop a lightweight, heat-resistant Diamonite(TM)-bonded C/C composite for thermal protection of re-entry vehicles. Our previous work has shown that nanostructured carbon produced by pressure-assisted polymerization of mixed fullerenes creates a new high specific strength carbon material called Diamonite(TM), which has mechanical properties closer to diamond than to graphite. Building on this experience, in Phase I, we will pressure infiltrate a woven fiber carbon preform with mixed fullerenes, and transform the infiltrated material into Diamonite(TM), thereby forming a Diamonite(TM)-bonded C/C composite. The fiber architecture can be computer designed to match the performance requirements of the shielding material. In Phase I, the best parameters for pressure-assisted polymerization of the new composite material and an optimal reinforcing fibrous structure will be determined. We will machine experimental samples and determine the value of specific strength, thermal stability, and other properties needed for the design of an optimal thermal protection system. In Phase II, we will determine the conditions for scaling the process and fabrication of a prototype thermal protection shield, which can be evaluated by Lockheed Martin. The manufacturing of new material and protection parts will be established in Phase III.