Volume 3, Issue 7 (July 2006)
Frictional Ignition Testing of Composite Materials
The space flight community has been investigating lightweight composite materials for use in propellant tanks for both liquid and gaseous oxygen for space flight vehicles. The use of these materials presents some risks pertaining to ignition and burning hazards in the presence of oxygen. Through the hazard analysis process, some ignition mechanisms have been identified as being potentially credible. One of the ignition mechanisms was reciprocal friction; however, test data do not exist that could be used to clear or fail these types of materials as “oxygen compatible” for the reciprocal friction ignition mechanism. Therefore, testing was performed at the NASA Johnson Space Center White Sands Test Facility to provide data to evaluate this ignition mechanism. This paper presents the test system, approach, data results, and findings of the reciprocal friction testing performed on composite sample materials being considered for propellant tanks.