Innovative Weight Efficient Combined Structural/Thermal Protection System (TPS) Concepts

Period of Performance: 05/17/2004 - 03/17/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

FMW Composite Systems, Inc.
1200 W. Benedum Industrial Drive
Bridgeport, WV 26330
Principal Investigator


The current approach to providing thermal protection to aero-vehicles is to use a parasitic thermal protection system (TPS) that protects the primary structure while transferring the aerodynamic loads to the same primary structure. This approach increases the complexity of the vehicle system that, in turn, complicates fabrication and inspection of the structure. In addition, this approach also increases production and maintenance costs. Thus, there is a clear need for a low-cost approach to manufacturing thermal protection systems capable of supporting load and are integral to the vehicle structure. This alternate TPS proposed by FMW, with design support from Boeing, would utilize discontinuous reinforcement of titanium (DR-Ti) skins with traditional titanium matrix composites (TMC) support structure. The DR-Ti skins would become an integral part of the vehicle structure and capable of sharing loads while maintain strength at temperature. These combined titanium composite technologies would offer a very robust solution to the TPS problem.