High-temperature protective coatings for space travel

Dr.-Ing. Christian Reimann and M.Sc. Kevin Schuck from Fraunhofer IISB in Erlangen took 3rd place in this year's DLR Challenge of the INNOspace Masters competition. The prize was awarded for their idea of producing simple and cost-effective high-temperature protective coatings on carbon composite materials for aerospace applications.

Dr.-Ing. Christian Reimann and Kevin Schuck from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB in Erlangen were honored for their idea to produce innovative high-temperature protective coatings. At the heart of this is the spray coating technology developed at IISB. This technology makes it possible to provide components for aerospace applications with ultra-high temperature resistant protective coatings.

The INNOspace Masters annually honors innovative ideas and concepts for the transfer of technologies, services and applications from aerospace to other industries - and vice versa. The award at the DLR Challenge now gives the Erlangen researchers access to worldwide scientific networks. Likewise, 3rd place comes with funding to carry out their two-year HOSSA research project. The goal is to bring the innovative idea into practical application together with partners from the aerospace industry.

Generally, aerospace uses carbon fiber composite components in engines, propulsion systems and thermal protection structures. However, at operating temperatures above 1700 °C, active oxidation and destruction of the materials by particle ablation and spalling occur. The use of these materials to date has therefore been limited to applications at lower temperatures, which necessarily also means lower combustion temperatures. However, this is accompanied by lower efficiencies for engines and propulsion systems. With the technology developed at Fraunhofer IISB, it is now possible to provide the carbon components concerned with high-temperature-resistant oxidation protection coatings in a simple and cost-effective manner. As a result, the engines and drives can be operated at higher temperatures and thus with higher efficiency.

However, the coating technology also offers further potential: spacecraft are subjected to high thermal stresses and vibrations on re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. With this special coating technology, the exposure times of spacecraft can be extended. This can minimize the risk of destruction of the spacecraft during re-entry and increase the probability that the spacecraft will return safely to Earth.


(Source: Fraunhofer IISB)

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