(Dr. W. Steven Johnson, advisor)
"Characterization of Mechanical Properties of Advanced Polymeric Systems Evaluated for a Cryotank Environment"
Composite materials are actively being used in the aerospace industry as a means of reducing weight. In particular, polymer matrix composites (PMC) are good candidates due to their high strength and stiffness. The mechanical properties of four polymer systems are being evaluated for future use as a matrix material for PMCs and an adhesive for bonding in next generation reusable launch vehicles' (RLV) composite liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (LO2) cryotanks. Two approaches were considered for characterizing the mechanical properties: stress-based and fracture-based. Each type of test was conducted at approximately -196 oC (-320 oF), 26 oC (78 oF), and 160 oC (320 oF). Mechanical properties and variations in properties due to temperature, as well as composition effects from different polymer systems will be investigated to provide insight into the best matrix choice for PMCs for RLV cryogenic fuel tanks.