High Stability Composite Ablative Insulator

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

TDA Research, Inc.
12345 W. 52nd Ave. Array
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Principal Investigator


Ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems make use of carbon cloth - phenolic (CCP) resin composite materials, particularly as ablative insulators in the inlets and throats of rocket motor nozzles. However, CCP exhibits aging through increased moisture content, arising from both water uptake in ambient air and endogenous water generation in the resin as it ages. The presence of water in CCP leads to anomalous behavior during high temperature operation of the system, as the pressure exerted within the composite by the H2O gas can cause deleterious effects. Carbon-carbon composites (?C/C?) present an alternate material for use in rocket nozzle throats, but their improved performance and lack of aging effects are often overshadowed by their high cost and long lead times. TDA is proposing a carbon fiber composite material that will be free from aging-related degradation, and provide performance that is intermediate between CCP and C/C. It will be more reliable than CCP, and have lower cost and shorter lead times than C/C. Approved for Public Release 14-MDA-8047 (14 Nov 14)