Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a process to manufacture extreme heat-resistant carbon-carbon composites at a faster rate.
The composites are made of graphite reinforced with carbon fiber, and uses a pure graphite matrix instead of epoxy to bind the fibers. The researchers manufactured a nose cone and fins embedded with temperature sensors designed to expose the material to the harsh environment.
The performance of these materials will be tested in a U.S. Navy rocket that NASA will launch this fall.
“This launch will allow us to collect data and characterize the temperature performance in extreme environments, which are difficult to reproduce in a laboratory at full scale,” ORNL’s James Klett said. “The nose cone and fins were produced using a method that significantly cut production time.”