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Aerospace Seals - Hypersonic Control Surface Seals
Research Objectives
Develop reusable re-entry and hypersonic vehicle control surface seals to prevent ingestion of hot boundary layer flow.
Technical Challenges
  • Limit hot gas flow and heat transfer to underlying low-temperature structures
  • Withstand temperatures of 1500-2200+ °F
  • Remain resilient for multiple load/heating cycles
  • Limit loads against sealing surfaces
  • Resist scrubbing damage
Current Research
Current seal designs lose resiliency when compressed at high temperatures for long periods of time, potentially limiting their ability to stay in contact with sealing surfaces throughout a mission. To improve seal resiliency at high temperatures, efforts are currently underway to develop improved versions of the spring tube element that is used in many current seal designs.

High temperature spring tube
 
Above: Cross section of typical control surface seal showing spring tube element.
 

Turbine Seal Timeline
Resilient Flexible Pressure-Activated Seal
Bruce M. Steinetz and Patrick J. Dunlap, Jr.
US Patent No. 7,497,443 Issued: March 3, 2009

High Temperature Seal for Large Structural Movements
Bruce M. Steinetz and Patrick J. Dunlap, Jr.
Patent No. 6,702,300 Link to non-NASA website B1 Issued: March 9, 2004

Resilient Braided Rope Seal
Bruce M. Steinetz and Lawrence A. Kren
Patent No. 6,039,325 Link to non-NASA website Issued: March 21, 2000

1996 Invention of the Year Award Winner
High Temperature, Flexible Fiber-Preform Seal
Bruce M. Steinetz and Paul J. Sirocky
Patent No. 5,082,293 Link to non-NASA website Issued: January 21, 1992
Read more about the Invention of the Year award...

High Temperature, Bellows Hybrid Seal

Bruce M. Steinetz and Paul J. Sirocky
Patent No. 5,332,239 Link to non-NASA website Issued: July 26, 1994

High Temperature, Flexible Pressure-Actuated Brush Seal

Bruce M. Steinetz and Paul J. Sirocky
Patent No. 5,076,590 Link to non-NASA website Issued: December 31, 1991

High Temperature, Flexible Thermal Barrier Seal

Paul J. Sirocky and Bruce M. Steinetz
Patent No. 5,014,917 Link to non-NASA website Issued: May 14, 1991

High Temperature, Flexible Seal

Bruce M. Steinetz and Paul J. Sirocky
Patent No. 4,917,302 Link to non-NASA website Issued: April 17, 1990

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Point of Contact
Pat Dunlap
Publications
View a list of published NASA reports
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Related Facilities
Learn more about our Aerospace Seals Facilities
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Events
NOTE CHANGE:
NASA Seals and Secondary Flows Symposium

November 19, 2013 - Postponed to Nov. 2014 due to Government Shutdown in October. Watch for new date.

Open to OEM'S and vendors
U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents (green card holders) only

Location
Ohio Aerospace Institute Link to non-NASA website

Directions/Maps
GRC (Google Maps) Link to non-NASA website
Map to GRC (PDF)
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Last Updated: May 19, 2009