Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a program from the Naval Air Warfare Center to develop, model, and manufacture a new missile fin design to incorporate Ultra High Temperature (UHT) Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) materials and an oxide-based heat transfer medium.
PSI’s design will be tailored to act as an upgrade for the standard missile fin, and the materials systems utilized will allow the fins to effectively manage thermal loads during hypersonic flight for the duration of their mission. The Navy, and other government agencies need high temperature resistant and lighter materials for use on rockets and missiles. Of particular interest are high temperature ceramic matrix composites, driven by the need for hypersonic flight vehicles. These increased speeds and accelerations result in significant temperatures and thermal stresses. Current missile technology utilizes stainless steels or nickel-based super alloys for the fins and control surfaces. These alloys are heavy and have an upper use temperature limit which is significantly lower. To increase both the speed and flight time of these missiles, lighter materials with higher temperature limits and better thermal stability must be utilized. Critical structures of interest include both fixed body fins and articulating control surfaces. They must be fabricated taking into consideration both the thermal and mechanical stresses that will be experienced during hypersonic flight without conducting the heat into the missile body.
PSI’s team consists of experts in UHT CMC materials production and hypersonic thermal modeling from Physical Sciences Inc. and Materials Research and Design respectively. Success of the ultra-high temperature composite leading edge will provide the Navy and other agencies with the next generation of thermal management and lightweight, temperature resistant materials for hypersonic flight vehicles.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Peter Warren
Executive Vice President, Materials Division
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003