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The development of new and superior materials for rockets and missiles is one of the most important phases of the current space program. Such development requires extensive testing under conditions that simulate actual exposure as closely as possible. A few hundred degrees difference in gas temperature, a change in gas velocity, or in chemical composition can markedly alter the resistance that a material might exhibit to a particular ablative condition. The conditions surrounding a particular missile material are generally very “unusual,” that is, temperatures of 5000 F or more, gas velocities of Mach 10 or higher, highly oxidizing atmospheres, and other equally difficult conditions. Previous attempts to duplicate these “unusual” conditions in the laboratory have resulted in such expensive and space-consuming apparatus as wind tunnels, shock tubes, and complete test rocket motors. To overcome the cost, space, and power problems and to help speed up materials research and the flow of new materials to the missile industry, the Aerojet-General Corp. began a program to determine whether simple, inexpensive equipment could be developed or designed to give meaningful test results. With such equipment, it was hoped that new and superior materials would be developed at a substantially faster rate than at present.
King, Harry A.
Technical Director, Western Backing Corp.Aerojet-General Corp., Culver CityAzusa, Calif.Calif.