highSSM – High Specific Stiffness Materials

Project Funding:
Project Coordination:
AAC, Austria
Project Partners:
29 months

The ESA-project “highSSM” covers the search and test­ing for novel metal­lic mater­i­als with high specific stiffness.

The main object­ive of the project was to select the most prom­ising metal­lic based compos­ites (MMC) which have a high specific stiff­ness (> 34 x106 m2/s2) to be used on plan­et­ary space­craft such as for Mars surface missions. These mater­i­als have been eval­u­ated to estab­lish their perform­ance in both Earth and Martian envir­on­ments. In this connec­tion a wide ranging review which included more than 150 candid­ates followed by a trade-off study consid­er­ing the differ­ent tech­nical prop­er­ties, manu­fac­tur­ing and economic issues as well as envir­on­mental impact have been carried out. The results obtained showed that Al- and Ti-alloys based compos­ites rein­forced by particles and fibres respect­ively prom­ise the best perform­ance. The selec­ted mater­i­als have been tested with respect to the micro­struc­ture as well as to the mech­an­ical, corro­sion and CTE prop­er­ties upon earth envir­on­ment taking into account beha­vior in differ­ent direc­tions. Based on the find­ings from the earth test campaign two mater­i­als have been down selec­ted for the tests which considered mars envir­on­ment such as temper­at­ure and CO2 atmo­sphere. The study performed enabled to identify a high poten­tial of Al-alloy rein­forced by SiC particles and Ti-alloy rein­forced by SiC fibres for applic­a­tions requir­ing besides a high specific stiff­ness also adequately high mech­an­ical and phys­ical prop­er­ties. Hence these mater­i­als can be considered as a replace­ment for the conven­tional mater­i­als e.g. for Ti6Al4V alloy.

A paper will be published to the ISMSE confer­ence (International Symposium for Materials in Space Environment 2015).

mosaic_highssmLight micro­scopic images: Cross sections of 640xa, TiSiC , Ti64 –TiB2, Al-Cf respectively