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Space Technology Research Grants

Utilization of Self-Healing Materials in Thermal Protection System Applications

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Project Introduction

Utilization of Self-Healing Materials in Thermal Protection System Applications
The proposed project is the Utilization of Self-Healing Materials for Thermal Protection System (TPS) Applications. Currently, the technology for repairing TPS from micro meteor and orbital debris impact damage has a low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 2 and there are no repair materials currently available for use. This project plans to raise this TRL by integrating self-healing technology into existing TPS materials. In order to raise the TRL, self-healing TPS needs to be demonstrated at significantly higher temperatures than have been previously demonstrated. The proposed plan for advancing self-healing TPS consists of four stages: manufacturing, thermal testing, self-healing testing, and thermal testing of healed samples. Placing the material in arc jets with relevant reentry environments will test the thermal response of the material. Impacting or damaging the integrated material will test self-healing properties. After performing this research, self-healing TPS will be ready for testing in relevant space environments by measuring material responses in vacuum and at extreme varying temperatures. Visiting NASA centers will make this project successful by allowing access to NASA labs, equipment, and technology experts. More »

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