Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a program from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to develop ultrathin (0.015”) carbon fiber reinforced, silicon carbide matrix (C/SiC) materials to construct flexible thermal protection system (TPS) structures.
The natural oxidation resistance of C/SiC makes these flexible structures suitable for use as control surfaces or morphing ducts for hypersonic vehicles. The key innovation developed by PSI to make repeatable thin C/SiC structures possible is a shape stable matrix. The thin C/SiC sheets are reinforced by unidirectional tapes in a simple 0-90 scheme.
Successful development of the flexible TPS technology will enable morphing structures including control surfaces to be seamlessly integrated into the outer mold line of a hypersonic vehicle. Flexible control surfaces will eliminate the need to cover gaps between the vehicle and surface that induce drag. The flexible TPS technology will make it possible to construct morphing inlet ducts to optimize the air flow in combined cycle engines and the transition from ram to scram operation. Commercial applications for flexible TPS include exhaust control for gas turbine engines including thrust vectoring.
For more information, contact:
Dr. John Steinbeck
Product Manager, Advanced Composites
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003