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Bally Ribbon Mills’ 3D Material Helps NASA Beat the Heat

Advanced fabrics are used in 3D structures and produced in large-volume quantities in support of NASA’s environmental exploration efforts.

Bally Ribbon Mills, a developer of advanced materials, recently received a Space Technology award from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) for 3D material used as part of the thermal management in atmospheric re-entry vehicles. The 3D material is used to support the heat shield for extreme entry environment technology (HEEET). The HEEET team is developing a new thermal protection system (TPS) that takes advantage of woven carbon composite fabrics in aircraft parts. The award was announced at the recent STDM quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C.

The TPS materials are produced by combining fibers of different compositions and variable yarn densities in a 3D structure. By extending the structure into the third dimension, the materials are made more robust than traditional 2D materials, the better to handle the stress of the entry environment. Advanced modeling is used to simulate the performance of a 3D structure, and high-volume manufacturing techniques are applied to produce the 3D fabricates in cost-effective quantities.

“The STMD community sincerely appreciates your hard work, leadership, and dedication to providing NASA and the nation with revolutionary new technologies and capabilities,” said STMD’s associates administrator, Stephen G. Jurczyk. “Congratulations on your hard work and dedication to ensuring the success of our Mission Directorate.”

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