Innovative and Cost-Effective Polymer Nanocomposites TPS for Navy Reentry Bodies

Period of Performance: 05/23/2014 - 11/24/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

KOO & Associates International, Inc.
6402 Needham Lane Array
Austin, TX 78739
Principal Investigator


The project objective is to develop innovative thermal protection system (TPS) solutions to protect Navy reentry bodies in hostile environments. The insulative polymer nanocomposite (PNC) ablative is based on a combination of phenolic, nanomaterials, and carbon fibers which should enhance char formation and provide reduce density with excellent ablation-resistant, insulative, and mechanical properties. The following unique approach is employed: - Utilize commercially available resin, nanomaterial, and carbon fiber to create a family of novel ablatives. - Use a Design of Experiment approach to formulate material matrix to examine the combined effects of each component to the overall material properties and performance. - Utilize commercially available processing techniques to manufacture and fabricate test specimens. - Utilize test coupons with carbon/phenolic ablative and proposed candidates to compare insulative thermal and ablation characteristics for proof of concept. - Utilize well-controlled labscale test devices, oxy-acetylene test bed to accurately simulate the operating conditions to evaluate the materials. Success of the project will lead to scalable PNC ablatives to improve the operating conditions of reentry structures. More importantly, these manufacturing processes are readily scalable and low cost by utilizing commercially available materials and partnering with ablative materials and missile manufacturers in the early R&D stage.