Highly Affordable Net- and Near-Net Forming of Fully Dense TaC for Boost Nozzle Applications

Period of Performance: 08/02/2011 - 08/02/2013


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Exothermics, Inc.
14 Columbia Drive
Amherst, NH 03031
Principal Investigator


This Phase 2 SBIR proposal addresses the technical and manufacturing challenges associated with development of cost-effective materials solutions for ultrahigh temperature solid rocket motor throat components ¡V particularly those associated with boost nozzle solid rocket motor (SRM) or solid divert/attitude control SDACS components for vehicles such as KEI and SM-3. Exothermics and their Phase 2 partners ATK Launch Systems Division, MR&D and the Southern Research Insitute will seek to increase the reliability, producibility and performance of aluminized and nonaluminized propellant throat and nozzle hardware by systematically optimizing, testing and then deploying a new family of net-formed ultrahigh temperature (>3000 aC) tantalum carbide- and hafnium nitride-based refractory compounds and cermets. These UHT materials will be manufactured in net or near-net shape fashion using novel hot isostatic pressing (HIP) densification methods we developed in our Phase 1 SBIR program. Based upon the highly successful outcome of our Phase 1 efforts pertaining to forming of TaC-based compounds and our partnership with ATK Launch Systems Division, we believe that this Phase 2 program represents an excellent opportunity for fielding a new generation of UHT solid propulsion components with performance and cost attributes that are superior to legacy materials such as thoriated tungsten.