Processing and characterization of ablative composites used in rocket motors
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The main objective of this research work was to obtain two formulations of ablative composites. These composites are also known as ablative structural composites, for applications in atmospherically severe conditions according to the high-temperature, hot gaseous products flow generated from the burning of solid propellants. The formulations were manufactured with phenolic resin reinforced with chopped carbon fiber. The composites were obtained by the hot compression molding technique. Another purpose of this work was to conduct the physical and chemical characterization of the matrix, the reinforcements and the composites. After the characterization, a nozzle divergent of each formulation was manufactured and its performance was evaluated through the rocket motor static firing test. According to the results found in this work, it was possible to observe through the characterization of the raw materials that phenolic resins showed peculiarities in their properties that differentiate one from the other, but did not exhibit significant differences in performance as a composite material for use in ablation conditions. Both composites showed good performance for use in thermal protection, confirmed by firing static tests (rocket motor). Composites made with phenolic resin and chopped carbon fiber showed that it is a material with excellent resistance to ablation process. This composite can be used to produce nozzle parts with complex geometry or shapes and low manufacturing cost.