Thermal Management Coating (TMC)

The coating uses micro-encapsulated phase-change material. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama An experimental study was conducted in conjunction with the research and development program at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) on thermal protection systems (TPS) for aerospace applications, a new concept for reusable TPS material. The new system uses a micro-encapsulated phase-change material rather than an ablative material to dissipate the heat produced during supersonic flight. This new material absorbs energy as it goes through a phase change during the heating portion of the flight profile and then the energy is released as the material cools. This new TPS consists of micro-encapsulated phasechange material and a resin system to adhere the coating to the structure. The technology has been successfully tested in the hot gas tunnel (aero-thermal heating). The figure shows the test results.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Thermal management, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Materials properties


AeroHeating Tools (AHT) Suite

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This suite of computer programs, called “tools,” is used to calculate local flow angles over damage sites in the Shuttle Orbiter Thermal Protection System (TPS). It provides a quick and easy way to compute cross flow angles over points of interest on the Shuttle Orbiter TPS.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Computer software and hardware, Thermal management, Spacecraft


EXOS Software

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas An improved version of EXOS software allows for the modeling of fabrics, mixtures, and porous materials, and also provides the ability to accept hex mesh geometries. The code employs a novel numerical method, a hybrid particle finite element approach, as well as particles and elements in tandem, each modeling distinct aspects of the physics. Ellipsoidal particles are used to model contact-impact and volumetric thermomechanical response (Euler parameters provide a singularity-free description of particle rotations). Elements are used to model “strength” effects; namely, tensile inter-particle forces and elastic-plastic deviatoric deformation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Software, Computer simulation, Finite element analysis, Tensile Strength


Using Paraffin Phase Change Material to Make Optical Communication-Type Payloads Thermally Self-Sufficient for Operation in Orion Crew Module

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Orion Crew Module has a pressurized cabin of approximately 20 m3 in volume. There are a number of cold plates within the Crew Module for thermal management. An optical communication type of payload consists of electronics boxes and modems that dissipate a significant amount of heat during science operation. Generally, such payloads operate for a short term (e.g., up to one hour). If these heat-dissipating components are flown inside the Crew Module, they require heat rejection to the cold plates in the Crew Module. The waste heat is transported from the cold plate to thermal radiators located outside the Orion spacecraft. This makes such a payload thermally dependent on the Crew Module cold plates.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Hydrocarbons, Passenger compartments, Thermal management, Spacecraft


Aerogel-Filled Foam Core Insulation for Cryogenic Propellant Storage

Advanced cryogenic insulation has applications in energy, medicine, food storage and packaging, and electronics. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Current cryogenic insulation materials suffer from various drawbacks including high cost and weight, lack of structural or load-bearing capability, fabrication complexity, and property anisotropy. A need clearly exists for lightweight thermal insulation that is isotropic and structurally capable with high thermal performance, while also offering reduced fabrication and installation complexity, and lower cost.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Propellants, Thermal management, Storage, Foams, Insulation


Multifunctional B/C Fiber Composites for Radiation Shielding

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama A versatile, novel, multifunctional hybrid structural composite of a high-hydrogen epoxy matrix (UN-10) coupled with boron and carbon fibers (IM-7) has been developed. Prototype laminates of 18×18 in. (≈46×46 cm), with the nominal areal density of 0.35 g/cm2, were fabricated in this effort. The hydrogen atoms in the epoxy will provide shielding strength against high-energy protons, electrons, and heavy ionic species, while the boron fibers that have a high neutron cross-section will help shield against neutrons and reduce the buildup of high-energy photons from secondary reactions. The carbon fibers will provide improved mechanical strength.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Composite materials, Fibers


Smart MMOD Thermal Blanket

A spacer is added to standard thermal blankets to improve MMOD shielding. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This innovation provides for significantly improved protection from micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) particles, and reliably determines the location, depth, and extent of MMOD impact damage.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Fabrics, Fibers, Foams, Protective equipment, Spacecraft


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