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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Ultra-Stable Zero-CTE HoneySiC and H2CMN Mirror Support Structures, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

NASA MSFC, GSFC and JPL are interested in Ultra-Stable Mirror Support Structures for Exoplanet Missions. Telescopes with Apertures of 4-meters or larger and using an internal coronagraph require a telescope wavefront stability that is on the order of 10 pico-meters RMS per 10 minutes. Interest is also for IR/FIR missions requiring 8-meter or larger diameter mirrors with cryogenic deformations <100 nm RMS. Fantom Materials is specifically responding to the need for ultra-stable mirror support structure traceable to the needs of Cosmic Origins for UVOIR, Exo and FIR telescopes, including mirror support structures, whiffle plates, delta frames and strongbacks. HoneySiC material has multiple features that make it very attractive as a potential future deployment hinge and latching material: 1) It's an additively manufactured Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) with no Coefficient of Moisture Expansion (CME). Individually molded parts become a monolithic construct, thus it is possible to manufacture an entire telescope using HoneySiC, 2) It's extremely light weight; laminate HoneySiC sheets have the same density as beryllium and honeySiC panels have about 1/5 the density of beryllium, 3) It's extremely dimensionally stable due to a zero-CTE across a temperature range of -200 to +25C. The thermal conductivity can be supercharged by addition of extremely high thermal conductivity carbon nanotubes. To achieve a stability of 10 picometer (e.g., LISA gravity wave detector mission) will require the distortion parameters to go to zero for a passive material. The overarching objectives of the project are to collaborate with NASA MSFC, GSFC, JPL and Northrop Grumman to demonstrate new mirror mounting materials with ultra-stability. Potentially every beryllium and M55J-954-6 part could be replaced by HoneySiC, resulting in a massive reduction in labor and schedule, as well as weight. Stiffness and dimensional stability would be greatly enhanced by HoneySiC or H2CMN. More »

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