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Near-zero erosion ultra-high temperature ceramic composite

Carbon fiberCeramic matrix compositesCOPFibra di carbonioIPA21rocket motorthermal protection systemZirconium diboride


The technology patentedconcerns the design and manufacture of near-zero ablation fiber-reinforced ultra-high temperature ceramic matrix composites (UHTCMCs) withstanding sudden temperature changes from -200°C to 1800°C (or above), in particularly aggressive environments from a chemical and mechanical point of views, resulting therefore reusable or with a durability superior to currently used materials.

Technical features

The current aerospace market relies on composite materials with a ceramic or carbon matrix to realize the components of the heat shields (tiles or leading edges) and rocket motors for solid propellant satellite launchers (e.g VEGA and ARIAN) because are lightweight and excellent materials for extremely hot and harsh environments. Such materials are used also to realize braking systems (discs) of Formula 1 and heavy means transport (airplanes and high-speed trains). However extremely time-consuming (machine time 1-6 months) and cost-intensive (>> 500 EUR/Kg) production processes are required.

Moreover, a further coating treatment is necessary to improve durability. The process patented by the CNR by ISTEC researchers is able to realize high added value materials, with longer durability via a greener, cheaper and faster technology. From a technical point of view, the process is mainly based on 1) impregnation of carbon fiber fabrics with a mixture of ultra-refractory ceramic powders in water and 2) consolidation by sintering in few hours.

Related Patent: Materials for temperatures exceeding 2000°C

Possible Applications

  • Aerospace: thermal protection system tiles, rocket motors components;
  • Transports: brake systems of supercars, airplains, trains;
  • Energy: anti-plasma plates in fusion power plants;
  • Metallurgy: non-deformable supports, fans, screws, bolts for extreme hot applications.


  • Perfect homogenization of the fiber with the ceramic matrix;
  • Green and time saving process;
  • Excellent ablation resistance (porosity <1%);
  • Coatings not necessary;
  • Improvement of mechanical properties with increasing temperature;
  • Excellent workability.