Follow this link to go to the text only version of nasa.gov
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
+ Contact NASA
Go
Structures and Materials Division Research and Technology Directorate NASA Glenn Research Center

Tribology and mechanical Components Branch
Tribology and mechanical Components Home
Research Areas
Facilities
Personnel
Publications
Computer Codes
Partner with Us
Contact Information
Aerospace Seals - Heat Shield Systems
Research Objectives
Develop and demonstrate robust seal technology for the Orion heat shield-to-back shell interface gap.

Orion capsule and heat shield diagram
Technical Challenges
  • Sealing system for the Orion heat shield-to-back shell interface gap must:
    • Prevent ingestion of high enthalpy reentry gases into interface gap
    • Protect internal structures and systems from high temperatures
    • Prevent circumferential flow in interface gap
    • Accommodate opening and closing of gap between heat shield and back shell
    • Minimize loads against heat shield and back shell TPS materials (e.g., PICA, Avcoat)
    • Include provisions for pre-flight integrity checks to verify proper seal installation

Current Research
The NASA GRC Structural Seals Team is supporting the Orion TPS Advanced Development Project (ADP) by developing a sealing system for this application. Main activities in this effort currently include:
  • Compression and flow tests on candidate seal designs under representative conditions
  • Development of a methodology at the sub-scale level to verify that seals have been installed to proper compression levels
  • Seal arc jet testing to:
    • Demonstrate that the baseline sealing system meets seal requirements
    • Demonstrate robustness of the sealing system under off-nominal conditions
    • Provide a database for development/evaluation of models of the sealing system and gap heating/flow
  • Seal thermal analyses to:
    • Predict in-depth temperature profiles along the entire length of the main seal for various vehicle re-entry profiles
    • Determine heating augmentation factors in the seal interface due to steps and gaps in the presence of a circumferential flow
Thermal exposure testing of candidate seal materials
 
Above: Thermal exposure testing of candidate seal materials
 
Highlights
Arc jet evaluation test of CEV Heat Shield-to-Back Shell Design  Successful Arc Jet Test of CEV Heat Shield-to-back Shell Seal Design
The seal comprises an outer hybrid thermal barrier designed to resist the extreme temperatures of reentry.
+ Read more...
Sample seals for Orion CEV  Sample Seals for the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) Fabricated
The seals, also known as hybrid thermal barriers, were designed for the CEV main heat shield-to-back shell interface.
+ Read more...
View Highlights Archive...


+ Return to the branch research page...
Point of Contact
Pat Dunlap
Publications
View a list of published NASA reports
+ View related publications
Related Facilities
Learn more about our Aerospace Seals Facilities
+ View Facility Listing
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)
Local food/lodging (PDF)

Download Workshop Papers
Get Adobe Acrobat Reader


MORE INFO IN NASA SITE NETWORK

+ Freedom of Information Act
+ NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Official: Ajay K. Misra
+ Web Curator
+ Contact NASA
Last Updated: September 22, 2009