Low-Cost, Ultrahigh Temperature Zero-Erosion Ceramic Matrix Composite for SM-3 TDACS Pintles and Throats

Period of Performance: 03/27/2009 - 09/27/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

12173 Montague Street Array
Pacoima, CA 91331
Principal Investigator


Future performance goals for ballistic missile defense systems necessitate the development of zero-erosion throat materials for boost and tactical solid rocket motors. Increasing demands imposed by advanced solid propellants used in systems such as throttling diverter and attitude control systems (TDACS) require zero-erosion materials for pintles and throats capable of surviving an ultrahigh temperature thermal, chemical, and mechanical environment. Use of robust materials with broad operational capability leads to simpler and lower cost designs. With application and design support provided by Aerojet and thermomechanical modeling and erosion prediction provided by Materials Research & Design, Ultramet will develop ceramic matrix composite materials using its low cost melt infiltration process for a TDACS component that can be used with aluminized and nonaluminized propellants. Tantalum carbide is the current material of choice for use with aluminized propellants, whereas materials including hafnium carbide, zirconium carbide, tungsten, and rhenium have been demonstrated with lower temperature, nonaluminized propellant systems. Ultramet will develop a high-toughness, fiber-reinforced tantalum-hafnium carbide ceramic alloy matrix composite for use with both propellant types using a low cost melt infiltration manufacturing process.