PRIN 2022 / Barato


Acronimo: DAPHNE
Titolo: Development of Advanced testing Protocols and of High temperature materials for NExt generation solid and hybrid rocket motors
Responsabile scientifico: dott. Francesco BARATO - Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale-Università’ degli Studi di PADOVA
Coordinatore: prof. Luigi TORRE - Università degli Studi di Perugia
Partern-Unità di ricerca: Università degli Studi della Campania, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale-Università degli Studi di PADOVA
Bando: PRIN 2022 - Decreto Direttoriale n. 104 del 02-02-2022
Durata: 28/09/2023 - 27/09/2025 (24 mesi)
Budget totale progetto: € 264.406,00

Abstract del progetto

Solid Rocket Motors (SRMs) provide most of the thrust necessary to reach Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Thermal Protection System (TPS) materials such as Carbon/Phenolic Composites (CPCs) are critical to produce next generation Italian and European launchers i.e., to preserve the independent access to space through indigenous launch systems. The crisis in Ukraine suddenly allowed to grasp the importance of the homeland security - which is intimately related to the space access - for the western countries as well as the necessity to preserve the know-how and the supply chain in the areas of TPS materials. More recently, Hybrid Rocket Motors (HRMs) have shown to represent an affordable paradigm of propulsion especially for small companies aimed at producing small launchers. TPS materials are also used to manufacture the heat shields of vehicles re-entry into a planetary atmosphere. Technologies behind TPS materials for SRMs/HRMs are not only complex but, in most of the cases, are subjected to export-control restrictions, frustrating the ambitions of new small Italian and European players aimed at entering in the market of the space launchers. Moreover, the realistic testing of materials for SRMs/HRMs is extremely challenging. Accordingly, DAPHNE wants to promote the research efforts of the Principal Investigator (PI) to bring down the costs of the technologies behind TPS materials using a systematic approach consolidated in 25 years of involvement in many European and national research programs. A consortium of research units with an extraordinary track record in the related field of research, has been assembled. As an example, UNIPD recently developed the hybrid rocket motor used to power a sounding rocket successfully launched in February 2022. The activity was developed within the program Aviolancio, an initiative of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the National Research Council (CNR), and the Ministry of Defense, aimed at developing an airborne launcher for small satellites. The first goal of DAPHNE will be to introduce a new family of CPCs completely based on commercial raw materials (such as common ex­polyacrylonitrile carbon fibers) and on custom-made high char yield resin systems able to promote a superior Inter-Laminar Shear Strength (ILSS). Manufacturing processes able to bypass the limitations of traditional techniques will be validated. Two innovative testing protocols based on High Velocity Oxy-Fuel (HVOF) torches and subscale HRMs will be introduced, providing an unprecedented insight on the physics of ablation of TPS materials. A broad effort to model the behavior of the CPC formulations will be undertaken. The efforts of DAPHNE are in line with (1) the NASA’s Heatshield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET), (2) the European Space Agency (ESA) Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP), (3) the Italian Space Agency (ASI) Strategic Vision 2016-2025 document, (4) the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) program.