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    Carbon/Carbon Composites—Solid Rocket Nozzle Material Processing, Design, and Testing

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    One hundred and one ring shapes (2 to 16 in. in diameter) of carbon/carbon composites have been tested and evaluated to determine the processing cycle, the design properties, the ablative performance in a solid rocket nozzle environment, and the reinforcement tailoring for design applications. A carbon/carbon composite with a carbon or graphite reinforcement (cloth, fiber, felt, yarn, or granular) and a carbon or graphite bonding matrix (pitch, resin, or pyrolytic graphite) has demonstrated a capability to replace a warm standard nozzle ablative (carbon or graphite cloth phenolic) and room temperature structural (steel or aluminum) shells with a single hot material nozzle design. The carbon/carbon material provides an improved nozzle and missile performance through a lower nozzle weight volume and simpler design. The carbon/carbon material uses a 5500 F maximum processing cycle and develops a room temperature ultimate strength and modulus ranging from 3 to 88 ksi and 1.2 to 17.0 × 106 psi, respectively, an ablation erosion rate of 0 to 10 mil/s, and a reinforcement orientation of 0 to 90 deg with respect to the nozzle center line. In addition, the material offers good mechanical properties, dimensional stability, and structural integrity for a nozzle operating temperature of 5500 F and a pressure of 500 psi. The carbon/carbon limitations are longer procurement time, a need for additional processing and material properties, a high cost per pound in development quantities, and a greater design application analysis time than with existing standard ablative and structural materials.


    composite materials, carbon, graphite composites, ablative materials, rocket nozzles, reinforcements (structures), structural composites, bonding, composite fabrication, laminating, mechanical properties, thermal properties, design

    Author Information:

    Laramee, RC
    Thiokol Chemical Corp., Brigham City, Utah

    Canfield, A
    Thiokol Chemical Corp., Brigham City, Utah

    Committee/Subcommittee: D30.05

    DOI: 10.1520/STP27772S