SBIR-STTR Award

Flexible TPS
Profile last edited on: 9/8/2022

Program
SBIR
Agency
MDA
Total Award Amount
$1,630,449
Award Phase
2
Principal Investigator
John W Steinbeck
Activity Indicator

Company Information

Physical Sciences Inc (AKA:PSI Technology)

20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810
   (978) 689-0003
   contact@psicorp.com
   www.psicorp.com
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   03
County:   Essex

Phase I

Phase I year
2021
Phase I Amount
$149,998
The Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) Team will 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. During the Phase I program we will fabricate thin C/SiC sheets and demonstrate their ability to bend about a 12” radius of curvature. We will assemble a set of eight thin sheets and show that the stack can be actuated about a 12” radius of curvature and that the thermal performance of the assembly is within 25% of a monolithic C/SiC structure. Our Team will work with the government and vehicle integrators to identify an application for the flexible structures for prototype development during Phase II. The Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) Team will 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. During the Phase I program we will fabricate thin C/SiC sheets and demonstrate their ability to bend about a 12” radius of curvature. We will assemble a set of eight thin sheets and show that the stack can be actuated about a 12” radius of curvature and that the thermal performance of the assembly is within 25% of a monolithic C/SiC structure. Our Team will work with the government and vehicle integrators to identify an application for the flexible structures for prototype development during Phase II. Approved for Public Release | 20-MDA-10643 (3 Dec 20)

Phase II

Phase II year
2022 (last award dollars: 2022)
Phase II Amount
$1,480,451
The Team of Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), the University of Colorado and Teledyne Scientific will design, build and test a prototype flap for flight control of a hypersonic vehicle using PSI’s flexible ceramic composite technology developed during the Phase I program. During Phase I the Team demonstrated that PSI’s flexible carbon fiber reinforced silicon carbide (C/SiC) was resistant to bend fatigue at radii as small as 3” for thousands of cycles. The Team also used laser heating to demonstrate that flexible C/SiC has thermal resistance comparable to conventional C/SiC laminates. During the Phase II program the Team will demonstrate that PSI’s ultrahigh temperature C/SiC can be fabricated in flexible form and has similar bend fatigue durability as the baseline flexible C/SiC. The Team will also demonstrate that the flexible C/SiC materials retain bend fatigue resistance at high (> 2000°F) temperature. The Team will develop the fabrication protocols necessary to build complex shaped flexible structures and demonstrate a prototype flap constructed using the technology. Approved for Public Release | 22-MDA-11102 (22 Mar 22)