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XCOR Aerospace Develops New Composite Material

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Apr 7, 2006 11:16 pm
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XCOR Aerospace announced on 6 april, successful testing of its new thermoplastic fluoropolymer composite material. NASA White Sands Test Facility located in southwest New Mexico conducted ignition and oxygen compatibility testing of XCOR’s material.

“We have been researching this technology since early 2004, and we continue to develop under NASA contract for composite liquid oxygen (LOX) tanks,” said XCOR’s President, Jeff Greason. “Shortly after NASA engaged XCOR on this project, we were able to demonstrate materials that were far superior to initial specifications. Indeed, a NASA test lab failed to make it burn in 100% oxygen atmosphere.”

XCOR expects the new composite material’s superior performance will resolve existing problems with cryogenic and liquid oxygen materials. The material can be used by the aerospace industry in production of LOX tanks for fuel cells, life support systems, and small secondary propulsion systems such as attitude control thrusters. Its thermal insulating properties, nonflammability, as well as the high strength-to-weight ratio typical of composites, make it an enabling technology for building lighter, cheaper, more robust structures and systems.

The material has numerous advantages over other, more traditional composites. It is naturally resistant to microcracking, has a low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), and has inherent resistance to combustion. When used in a skin-foam-skin composite, it also serves as thermal insulation as well as structure. Additionally, it is durable, repairable, and can withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures. The fluoropolymer composite maintains strength and flexibility at extreme temperatures (from -260 degrees to plus 280 degrees C, or -436 degrees F to plus 536 degrees F).

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket engines, rocket propulsion systems, and rocket powered vehicles.

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