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Light Weight Ceramic Ablators for Mars Follow-on Mission Vehicle Thermal Protection SystemNew Light Weight Ceramic Ablators (LCA) were produced by using ceramic and carbon fibrous substrates, impregnated with silicone and phenolic resins. The special infiltration techniques (patent pending) were developed to control the amount of organic resins in the highly porous fiber matrices so that the final densities of LCA's range from 0.22 to 0.24 g/cc. This paper presents the thermal and ablative performance of the Silicone Impregnated Reusable Ceramic Ablators (SIRCA) in simulated entry conditions for Mars-Pathfinder in the Ames 60 MW Interaction Heating Facility (I HF). Arc jet test results yielded no evidence of char erosion and mass loss at high stagnation pressures to 0.25 atm. Minimal silica melt was detected on surface char at a stagnation pressure of 0.31 atm. Four ceramic substrates were used in the production of SIRCA's to obtain the effective of boron oxide present in substrate so the thermal performance of SIRCA's. A sample of SIRCA was also exposed to the same heating condition for five cycles and no significant mass loss or recession was observed. Tensile testing established that the SIRCA tensile strength is about a factor of two higher than that of the virgin substrates. Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) of the char in nitrogen and air showed no evidence of free carbon in the char. Scanning Electron Microscopy of the post test sample showed that the char surface consists of a fibrous structure that was sealed with a thin layer of silicon oxide melt.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Tran, Huy K. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Rasky, Daniel J. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Hsu, Ming-Ta (Chem (H. C.) Co. San Jose, CA United States)
Turan, Ryan (DeAnza Coll. Cupertino, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1994
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.