Innovation: Multifunctional Components For Agressive Enviroments In Space Applications

Last update: 30.06.2013
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Keywords: 
aerospace technology, glasses, transport, ceramics, materials technology, space & satellite research, composites
The aim of this proposal is the development of ceramic composites structures which are needed for applications in aggressive environments, where (oxidative) and temperatures are required, such as hot parts of space vehicles for orbital re-entry (reusable launcher vehicles, RLVs). The solution will be focused on re-usable systems. As expressed by the European Commission a non-dependent access to the critical space technology is required at European level. Therefore the strategy is to focus on materials systems able to be in a medium term independent from the technologies that already exist outside Europe (mainly in USA, China and Russia). The technical approach is focused on the development of multilayer concept based on high temperature ceramics (HTCs) and ultrahigh temperature ceramics (UHTCs) with multiple tailored properties. Their joining processes to conventional structural ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) or novel porous sandwich structures, and the final attachment to metallic
structures.

The MULTIFUNCTIONAL COMPONENT can be broken down at three levels:
- 1st Level: This will be composed of multi-layers.
- 2nd Level: This will be composed of qualified CMCs or novel CMC-SiC foam sandwich structures.
- 3thLevel: This will be composed of the metallic structural frames.

A TPS technology sample design will be provided and will be aided by material's modelling and simulation via conventional methods and computed tomography will be used to obtain a real FEM model. The output will be to determine critical parameters such as thicknesses and geometries. The technology sample will be ground tested for simulation of the re-entry conditions and will determine the fundamental performance and the degradation mechanisms. The results will be reviewed in comparison with the outputs of TPS requirements and environment specifications. This will result in the completion of the validation of the TPS performance and the assessment of achievement of a TRL 4-5.

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Project context and objectives
the aim of this proposal is the development of ceramic composites structures which are required for applications in aggressive environments (oxidative) and high temperatures, such as hot parts of space vehicles for orbital re-entry (reusable launcher vehicles, RLVs). The solution will be focused on re-usable systems. As expressed by the European Commission a non-dependent access to the critical space technology is required at European level. Therefore the strategy is to focus on materials systems able to be in a medium term independent from the technologies that already exist outside Europe (mainly in USA, China and Russia). The technical approach is focused on the development of multilayer concept based on high temperature ceramics (HTCs) and ultrahigh temperature ceramics (UHTCs) with multiple tailored properties. Their joining processes to conventional structural ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) or novel porous sandwich structures, and the final attachment to metallic structures
and frames will be carried out.

the multifunctional component can be broken down at three levels:

- 1st Level: This will be composed of multilayers. The point is to design each layer to form a system with multiple properties (i.e. an external layer with resistance to oxidation at re-entry, an intermediate layer with high thermal conductivity to eliminate hot-spot and distribute the heat homogeneously and an inner layer with insulation properties).
- 2nd Level: This will be composed by conventional CMCs with structural or insulating properties (such as endless fibre reinforced Cf/SiC). Novel CMC-SiC foam sandwich structures integrating SiC foam able to grant additional thermal insulation will be developed in the frame of the project, but also qualified CMCs will be also manufactured and provided for comparison.
- 3rd Level: This will be composed by the metallic structural frames, such as those based on Nickel superalloys or Titanium alloys.

A proof-of TPS technology sample design will be provided by the end-user Aerospace companies participating in the project. Furthermore the system design will be aided by materials modelling and simulation via conventional methods and computed tomography will be used to obtain a real FEM model of each part of the system. The physical, mechanical and thermal characterisation of this part will be also carried-out over different temperatures ranges. This will help to obtain an accurate and realistic simulation of the insulation capability of the system. The output will be to determine critical parameters such as thicknesses and geometries.
finally the technology sample will be tested in a relevant ground facility simulating the re-entry conditions. The testing at sample level will determine the fundamental performance and the degradation mechanisms. This final step will give insight into the overall performance of a TPS, identify possible modes of failure, and assess the efficiency of the thermal insulation and the heat fluxes into the sub-structure of a spacecraft. The ground testing results will be reviewed in comparison with the outputs of TPS requirements and environment specifications. This will result in the completion of the validation of the TPS performance and the assessment of achievement of a TRL between 4 and 5.

project results:
WP1: TPS design
this workpackage is being led by EADS-IW. WP1.1, which is that now finalised, contains the basic design of the TPS concept and technology sample, which has been agreed by the potential end user of the results of the project: Astrium GmbH, providing the specifications and requirements for an envisaged mission of the project that is the advanced re-entry vehicle. EADS-IW has also started the work on the detailed TPS design, where a detailed selection of the relevant specifications has been carried-out in view of the particular goals of SMARTEES.

WP2: Materials development and manufacturing
this workpackage, led by POLITO, has the purpose to develop and manufacture the materials to be assembled in the TPS structure. POLITO has developed a processing path of SiC-based multilayer ceramics consisting in tape-casting, de-binding and pressureless sintering. Several kinds of multilayer ceramics were processed and characterised: multilayer SiC, Cf/SiC and ZrB2/SiC composite multilayer. Characterisation concerned microstructure, mechanical features, thermal diffusivity and thermal expansion. Tecnalia has contributed to WP2 through set-up and optimisation of the tape casting process for UHTC multilayers and the study of the parameters for their binder removal and their final consolidation by spark plasma sintering. Erbicol produced SiC foams and the investigation was focused to obtain hierarchical foams, to optimise cell orientation and shape of edges, to reduce the content of free silicon. Foams were sent to EADS for producing sandwich structures and to other partners for
characterisation. SUPSI performed bending tests on SiC foams and additionally studied the crack propagation on the foams by monitoring the electrical resistance. Moreover SUPSI investigated the way of decreasing the foam internal radiation by filling them with ceramic phases and fibres. EADS-IW has work on the development of integrated sandwich structure of the TPS system containing ceramic matrix composite (CMC) layers and SiSiC foam material. Moreover standard CMC material (Cf/SiC, SICARBONTM) was fabricated and samples were provided to project partners.

WP3 Joining processes
this workpackage is led by NCSRD and has as a purpose the development of joining processes for assembling the different parts of the Thermal Protection Structure (TPS). The joining processes refer to
a) joining of CMC to SiC based ceramic multilayers for the external part of the thermal protection structure (TPS).
b) joining of the CMC to the metallic part for the internal part of the TPS.
c) the integration of CMC/SiC multilayer/Metal by joining for the whole TPS.

initially possible joining routes have been discussed among the involved partners and the most promising were selected and prioritised. The bonding processes have been selected in order to comply with the TPS requirements investigated under WP1, environmental specifications and technology sample basic design.
research has been carried out on the fabrication and microstructural characterisation of several bonded joints, using a subset of the selected joining routes. The methods applied for the joining fabrication were based on brazing, diffusion bonding and the use of ceramic precursor resins, with or without surface modification of the surfaces to be joined.

WP4 Simulation
SUPSI is in charge on the simulation activities in SMARTEES, where they are progressing through a proper model reconstruction and simulation of the single parts of the TPS as well on the preliminary design of the whole TPS. For this purpose they have performed a digital reconstruction on the a ceramic based sandwich (through X-ray computed tomography) and they have analytically studied the internal stress under bending load and furthermore a FE analysis on the crack propagation. Concerning the whole TPS have performed a preliminary thermal analysis and a thermo-mechanical analysis.

WP6 Ground testing and validation
the objective of this workpackage is the provision of ground testing facilities for representative load case for the selected flight application.
in the reporting period, the work was subdivided into two topical groups:
- First, improvements and adaptations of the test facility had to be performed, including test and calibration runs.
- Secondly, first SiC based foams delivered by ERBICOL were tested under relevant thermal loads.

WP7 Use and dissemination
dissemination activities have mainly consisted on contribution to conferences: 3rd ARA Days re-entry conference and paper publications activities (indexed journal, such as Composites Science and Technology) and brief news in other media. SMARTEES has been also present in the Lets Embrace Space conference, an event from the EC. All of this has been carried-out maintaining a compatible strategy for the protection of the project result in view of potential future patents. Furthermore a web site has been designed and constructed: http://www.smartees-project.eu .

WP8: Coordination and reporting
coordination and reporting has consisted in the financial control and deliverables execution for the first period. One deliverable has been submitted on the concept of the envisaged mission (ARV). Two more deliverables have been submitted concerning a technical and financial overview for the first period. The coordination has been aided by the private area inside the SMARTEES webpage.

potential impact:
main results

- Access and compilation of details of a reference mission: ARV (specifications and requirements).
- Full definition of a preliminary TPS design.
- Preliminary definition of materials at the different levels and its manufacturing routes or procurement: protective multilayers, CMC sandwich structures, metallic frames.
- Preliminary definition of bonding processes for each joint: high temperature (multilayer/CMC sandwich) and low temperature (CMC sandwich / metal frame).
- Fabrication of multilayer/CMC and CMC/ metal first joints.
- Detailed modelling at subscale level (CMC sandwich structures).
- On-line sensing technique of foam fracture during bending.
- Initialisation of modelling & simulation at full-scale level. Ongoing construction of complete model. Plan for materials properties compilation campaign.
- Initial materials testing at re-entry chamber (ten re-entries). Bottom-up approach.
- Dissemination activities (2 conferences presentations, 3 accepted papers). Strategy definition for IP plan.
expected end results

- Definition of a detailed TPS design.
- Completion of TPS materials & processes definition. Full materials characterisation.
- Completion of bonding processes definition & full joint characterisation.
- Full modelling and simulation of the detailed TPS design.
- Full TPS testing at re-entry chamber.
- Proof-of concept to TPS solution.
- Use and dissemination plan. IP strategies definition.

potential impact and use

A novel TPS concept will be developed in the framework of the SMARTEES project, with the aim to develop a space critical technology with a high TRL able to compete with the technologies available outside Europe. Europe will benefit from the results of SMARTEES by improving its access to space critical technologies. The next generation launcher (NGL) will take advantage of this concept. Another important asset is the contribution to the creation of an independent industrial supply chain. Space exploration in general may take advantage of the novel reusable TPS technologies. There is a high potential for its use in cargo and crew space return vehicles. I.e. for a cost effective, safe and reliable return from the international space station (ISS). It is expected that the space industrial and scientific community will take advantage of the results of the project in a way to create an autonomous supply chain of the component.

list of websites:
http://www.smartees-project.eu

Collaboration sought: N/A
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This innovation is the result of the project

Title: Multifunctional Components For Agressive Enviroments In Space Applications

Acronym: 
SMARTEES

Runtime: 
01.01.2011 to 31.12.2013

Status: 
completed project

Organisations and people involved in this eco-innovation.

Please click on an entry to view all contact details.

FUNDACION TECNALIA RESEARCH & INNOVATION

(Spain)

Role in project: Project Coordination

Contact person: Dr. BARCENA Jorge

Website: http://www.tecnalia.com

Phone: +34 946 430 850

Contact

AEROSPACE & ADVANCED COMPOSITES GMBH

(Austria)

Contact person: Mr. PEONNINGER Anneliese

Website: http://www.aac-research.at

Phone: +43-262290550200

Contact

EADS DEUTSCHLAND GMBH

(Germany)

Contact person: Mr. LANG Werner

Website: http://www.eads.net

Phone: +49-8960728653

Contact

ERBICOL SA

(Switzerland)

Contact person: Mr. ROMELLI Luca

Website: http://www.erbicol.ch

Phone: +41-916976360

Contact

NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH DEMOKRITOS

(Greece)

Contact person: Ms. MARTAKH Stylianh

Website: http://www.demokritos.gr

Phone: +30-2106523713

Contact

POLITECNICO DI TORINO

(Italy)

Contact person: Prof. BADINI Claudio

Website: http://www.polito.it

Phone: +39-0115644635

Contact

SCUOLA UNIVERSITARIA PROFESSIONALE DELLA SVIZZERA ITALIANA (SUPSI)

(Switzerland)

Contact person: Prof. ORTONA Alberto

Website: http://www.supsi.ch

Phone: +41-586666647

Contact