Get This Paper

Lightweight and Flexible Thermal Protection Systems for High Temperature Composite Applications


Title: Lightweight and Flexible Thermal Protection Systems for High Temperature Composite Applications

Authors: Zhe Liu, Yourri-Samuel Dessureault, Matthew Lundblad, Ayou Hao and Zhiyong Liang, Youssef Aider and Yeqing Wang

DOI: 10.33599/nasampe/s.20.0240

Abstract: Carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) are increasingly used in aerospace applications which demand lightweight and stability at elevated temperatures. This paper discusses a method of fabricating a lightweight and flexible skin layer that made of carbon nanotube (CNT)/phenolic nanocomposite and using it as a thermal protection layer (TPL) to improve the heat resistance of CFRP. The presence of TPLs in the hybrid composites resulted in a 17% decrease of through-thickness thermal conductivity. Residual flexural strength and modulus after a flame torch test were 39% and 70% respectively of the initial value, a substantial improvement over 11% and 21% of a control sample. We also discuss the effects of TPLs on the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) and protection mechanisms. A heat transfer model is developed using finite element analysis to understand the thermal protection mechanism of the developed TPL layer. In the model, the heat conduction equation is solved with temperature-dependent material properties of the different composite material layers. The heat flux flowing from the flame torch to the material surface is estimated through a calibration procedure that compares the predicted back surface temperature against the experimental data. The model was used to conduct a parametric study to investigate the effects of TPL layer thicknesses and volume fractions on the thermal response of the hybrid composite material. This research could lead to the scalable manufacturing of CFRPs with enhanced performance characteristic at elevated temperatures for aerospace applications.

References: [1] CYCOM® 977-3 Epoxy Resin System. [cited 2019 Jan 28]; Available from: [2] CYCOM®5250-4 Prepreg System. 2011 [cited 2019 Jan 15]; Available from: [3] A. R. Bahramian, M. Kokabi, M. H. N. Famili, et al., Ablation and thermal degradation behaviour of a composite based on resol type phenolic resin: Process modeling and experimental. Polymer, 2006. 47(10): pp. 3661-3673. [4] H. Cheng, H. Xue, C. Hong, et al., Preparation, mechanical, thermal and ablative properties of lightweight needled carbon fibre felt/phenolic resin aerogel composite with a bird's nest structure. Composites Science and Technology, 2017. 140: pp. 63-72. [5] C. Xu and W. C. Nickerson, Hybrid multifunctional composite material and method of making the same. 2018, Google Patents. [6] L. Ju, J. Yang, A. Hao, et al., A hybrid ceramic-polymer composite fabricated by co-curing lay-up process for a strong bonding and enhanced transient thermal protection. Ceramics International, 2018. 44(10): pp. 11497-11504. [7] Z. Guo, Z. Liu, L. Ye, et al., The production of lignin-phenol-formaldehyde resin derived carbon fibers stabilized by BN preceramic polymer. Materials Letters, 2015. 142: pp. 49-51. [8] G. Pulci, J. Tirillò, F. Marra, et al., Carbon–phenolic ablative materials for re-entry space vehicles: Manufacturing and properties. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 2010. 41(10): pp. 1483-1490. [9] L. Pilato, Phenolic resins: 100 Years and still going strong. Reactive and Functional Polymers, 2013. 73(2): pp. 270-277. [10] J. N. Coleman, U. Khan, W. J. Blau, et al., Small but strong: A review of the mechanical properties of carbon nanotube–polymer composites. Carbon, 2006. 44(9): pp. 1624-1652. [11] S. Zhang, A. Hao, N. Nguyen, et al., Carbon nanotube/carbon composite fiber with improved strength and electrical conductivity via interface engineering. Carbon, 2019. 144: pp. 628-638. [12] Q. Wu, W. Zhu, C. Zhang, et al., Study of fire retardant behavior of carbon nanotube membranes and carbon nanofiber paper in carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites. Carbon, 2010. 48(6): pp. 1799-1806. [13] Q. Wu, C. Zhang, R. Liang, et al., Fire retardancy of a buckypaper membrane. Carbon, 2008. 46(8): pp. 1164-1165. [14] Z. Zhao and J. Gou, Improved fire retardancy of thermoset composites modified with carbon nanofibers. Science and technology of advanced materials, 2009. 10(1): pp. 015005. [15] Z. Liu, A. Hao, S. Zhang, et al., Lightweight carbon nanotube surface thermal shielding for carbon fiber/bismaleimide composites. Carbon, 2019. 153: pp. 320-329. [16] Propane Hand Torch Cylinder. [cited 2019 Jan 28]; Available from: [17] S. Torquato, S. Hyun, and A. Donev, Multifunctional composites: optimizing microstructures for simultaneous transport of heat and electricity. Physical review letters, 2002. 89(26): pp. 266601. [18] K.-S. Na and J.-H. Kim, Volume fraction optimization of functionally graded composite panels for stress reduction and critical temperature. Finite Elements in Analysis and Design, 2009. 45(11): pp. 845-851. [19] J. Mottram and R. Taylor, Thermal conductivity of fibre-phenolic resin composites. Part II: numerical evaluation. Composites Science and Technology, 1987. 29(3): pp. 211-232. [20] J. Mottram and R. Taylor, Thermal conductivity of fibre-phenolic resin composites. Part I: Thermal diffusivity measurements. Composites science and technology, 1987. 29(3): pp. 189-210. [21] L. Wan, X. Zhang, G. Wu, et al., Thermal conductivity and dielectric properties of bismaleimide/cyanate ester copolymer. High voltage, 2017. 2(3): pp. 167-171. [22] N. Nguyen, S. Zhang, A. Oluwalowo, et al., High-Performance and Lightweight Thermal Management Devices by 3D Printing and Assembly of Continuous Carbon Nanotube Sheets. ACS applied materials & interfaces, 2018. 10(32): pp. 27171-27177. [23] B. Kumanek and D. Janas, Thermal conductivity of carbon nanotube networks: A review. Journal of materials science, 2019. 54(10): pp. 7397-7427. [24] Y. Wang, T. K. Risch, and J. H. Koo, Assessment of a one-dimensional finite element charring ablation material response model for phenolic-impregnated carbon ablator. Aerospace Science and Technology, 2019. 91: pp. 301-309.

Conference: SAMPE 2020 | Virtual Series

Publication Date: 2020/06/01

SKU: TP20-0000000240

Pages: 15

Price: FREE

Get This Paper