A bit more rocket science


So the 6-month Pathfinder Project has wound up. The work done, the reports written, the grant money paid: Thank you very much Astrium/UKSA!

And the results?

Well, like most research, as many new questions asked as old ones answered. Here is the summary of the public report:

The project made significant steps in coating iridium onto C103 niobium alloy to provide a high temperature thruster material.

Initial coating trials with a refractory metal interlayer were successful, but coatings of iridium onto the substrate were problematic. However, the experiments and analysis showed that a duplex layer of refractory metal and iridium could be deposited on a modified substrate. Due to the scientific potential of the material combination and its commercial interest, work will continue on the coatings under the ESA HTAE project until May 2013.

Summary of the summary: There are a few problems, but some results are promising and as the prize is big, we continue to work towards it.

If you want to know more, please get in contact.


2 Responses to “A bit more rocket science”

  1. October 20, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Dear John,

    Since you have been working with C103 niobium, could you please let me know if you know any other supplyer of sheet material than ATI?

    Thanks in advance

    Kind regards
    | Hugo Groeneveld M.Sc. | 3D-Metal Forming BV |
    | Director Research & Development |

    • October 20, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Hugo,
      We didn’t buy any C103 ourselves. It was all supplied by our project partner. I’m not sure there is any supplier other than ATI. I sure would like there to be though.

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