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Morphologies, Processing and Properties of Ceramic Foams and Their Potential as TPS MaterialsThe current research is focused on processing ceramic foams with compositions that have potential as a thermal protection material. The use of pre-ceramic polymers with the addition of sacrificial blowing agents or sacrificial fillers offers a viable approach to form either open or closed cell insulation. Our work demonstrates that this is a feasible method to form refractory ceramic foams at relatively low processing temperatures. It is possible to foam complex shapes then pyrolize the system to form a ceramic while retaining the shape of the unfired foam. Initial work focused on identifying suitable pre-ceramic polymers with desired properties such as ceramic yield and chemical make up of the pyrolysis product after firing. We focused on making foams in the Si system (Sic, Si02, Si-0-C), which is in use in current acreage TPS systems. Ceramic foams with different architectures were formed from the pyrolysis of pre-ceramic polymers at 1200 C in different atmospheres. In some systems a sacrificial polyurethane was used as the blowing agent. We have also processed foams using sacrificial fillers to introduce controlled cell sizes. Each sacrificial filler or blowing agent leads to a unique morphology. The effect of different fillers on foam morphologies and the characterization of these foams in terms of mechanical and thermal properties are presented. We have conducted preliminary arc jet testing on selected foams with the materials being exposed to typical re-entry conditions for acreage TPS and these results will be discussed. Foams processed using these approaches have bulk densities ranging from 0.15 to 0.9 g/cm3 and cell sizes ranging from 5 to 500 pm. Compression strengths ranged from 2 to 7 MPa for these systems. Finally, preliminary oxidation studies have been conducted on selected systems and will be discussed.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Stackpoole, Mairead
(Eloret Corp. Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Simoes, Conan R.
(Washington Univ. Seattle, WA, United States)
Johnson, Sylvia M.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
December 11, 2002
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Meeting Information
Meeting: NSMMS Conference
Location: San Diego, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: June 23, 2003
End Date: June 27, 2003
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