NASA Recognizes Innovative Material

The use of 3D fabrics is leading to materials with unique thermal properties.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) has made a Space Technology Award to Bally Ribbon Mills for an innovative 3D material with advanced thermal properties. The 3D material will be used to support the heat shield for NASA’s Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET) team, which is developing a thermal protection system (TPS) to leverage the way that weaving will be used to manufacture aircraft parts comprised of carbon composite materials. The award was announced at a recent NASA STMD meeting in Washington, DC.

In working closely with NASA, Balley Ribbon Mills has developed 3D fabrics and materials with outstanding thermal properties for space-flight applications. (Image courtesy of Bally Ribbon Mills)

“The STMD community sincerely appreciates [Bally Ribbon Mills’] hard work, leadership, and dedication to providing NASA and the Nation with revolutionary new technologies and capabilities,” said STMD’s Associated Administrator Stephen G. Jurczyk. “Congratulations on your hard work and dedication to ensuring the success of our Mission Directorate.”

Using advanced modeling, design, and manufacturing tools to optimize the weave for overall improved performance, the HEEET project has manufactured a new family of TPS materials and tested them for a wide variety of entry conditions. The TPS materials are created by placing fibers and yarns with different properties into a 3D structure. By interconnecting woven materials in a third direction, the materials can be made more robust than traditional 2D fabrics. Using resins and a curing process, the different fibers are locked into place in the 3D structure.

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