Fiber Reinforced Aluminum Rocket Motor Case

Period of Performance: 08/02/2004 - 11/03/2006


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
The Millennium Centre Array
Triadelphia, WV 26059
Principal Investigator


Innovative rocket motor case materials and manufacturing processes are required to drive improvements in performance of today's rocket motors. Currently evolving missile designs, for example the Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile (AMRAAM), are moving towards higher pressures, higher and longer duration aeroheat temperatures, and increased maneuverability. Future case designs will require materials exhibiting higher specific strength and stiffness than steels can provide. The objective of this Phase II effort is to continue the development of a rocket motor case design using a fiber reinforced aluminum (FRA) metal matrix composite (MMC) material which has over twice the specific strength of D6AC steel. In Phase I, Touchstone Research Laboratory (Touchstone) teamed with Alliant Techsystems (ATK) Tactical Systems Company to demonstrate the feasibility of designing an AMRAAM style rocket motor case out of FRA material. During Phase I, a trade study demonstrated a weight reduction of over 38% for FRA compared to the baseline case design without a significant reduction in internal volume for propellant. The Phase II effort will involve Touchstone and ATK teaming up again in order to advance this technology to the level required for producing a subscale rocket motor case using this new material.