Skip Navigation
Center Innovation Fund: ARC CIF

Woven TPS – A Revolutionary Approach to Tailorable TPS Design & Manufacturing for Thermal Management Systems & Entry, Descent & Landing Systems

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The thermal protection material system (TPS) is the barrier that protects the space vehicle from atmospheric entry heating. Woven TPS is a concept that leverages the mature weaving technology that has evolved from the textile industry to design TPS with tailorable performance by varying a material's composition and properties by the controlled placement of fibers within a woven structure.    

The woven TPS approach that is being proposed has the capability to address two of the major challenges faced by NASA's TPS community: 1. The inability to optimize a TPS material for a given mission due to the high costs and long schedules associated with material development and certification. This drives NASA to utilize unoptimized TPS materials for a given mission which can result in significant weight penalties; 2. The typical scenario wherein NASA TPS materials have no other government or commercial applications and do not utilize manufacturing processes leveraging common commercial processes. Given that there are few NASA missions, and that these missions are years apart, this results in NASA incurring high costs to maintain manufacturing infrastructure or incurring the cost and risk of restarting manufacturing. The woven TPS approach has the potential to tailor a material's properties by the accurate placement of fibers of different composition with different spacings utilizing commercially available weaving technology, including equipment, modeling and design tools to optimize the weave. This allows for the control of material composition and density in three dimensions, resulting in tailored material performance. Given that the constituent properties of the fibers are known, in the future with modified tools it should be possible to predict the material's performance. This should result in a material that can be optimized for a given mission, and although some testing will still be required to certify the final product for the mission, it should substantially reduce the overall testing requirements and hence reduce the cost and schedule.

More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Share this Project

Organizational Responsibility

Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

Light bulb

Suggest an Edit

Recommend changes and additions to this project record.