Chapter 9. Stability of Silica Heat Shield Materials in the Space Shuttle Environment

  1. William J. Smothers
  1. Philip O. Ransone

Published Online: 26 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470320129.ch9

Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 4, Issue 7/8

Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 4, Issue 7/8

How to Cite

Ransone, P. O. (1983) Stability of Silica Heat Shield Materials in the Space Shuttle Environment, in Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 4, Issue 7/8 (ed W. J. Smothers), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470320129.ch9

Author Information

  1. NASA-Langley Research Center Hampton, VA 23665

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1983

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470374030

Online ISBN: 9780470320129

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Keywords:

  • capabilities;
  • potential;
  • mechanisms;
  • microcracking;
  • mechanical properties

Summary

Sample tiles of Space Shuttle reusable surface insulation (RSI) and fibrous refractory composite insulation (FRCI) have been alternately exposed to simulated mission heating and the Kennedy Space Center launch-pad environment for up to 50 cycles. The two types of tiles were coated with an identical glass composition. The coating on RSI tiles was prone to cracking in the test environment while the same coating on FRCI was not. Absorption of water contaminated with environmental deposits resulted in accelerated devitrification in the RSI tiles. Devitrification in FRCI tiles was significantly less. The rate of environmental degradation of tiles appeared to be dependent on the amount of water absorption.