On the left is a standard graphite composite.
On the right is XCOR's new floropolymer composite.
The materials are being subject to an oxygen enhanced atmosphere augmented
by direct application of a flame
from a blowtorch. Direct application of the torch on XCOR's material
produces no flame,
while the graphite composite is still burning from a previous application
of the torch.
MOJAVE, Calif., April 6, 2006: XCOR Aerospace announced today 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
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 safer, more reliable and reusable rocket engines, rocket propulsion systems, and rocket powered vehicles.