Ultra-ablation resistant ceramics materials for propulsive application

New generation thrusters demand always increasing severe combustion conditions, in terms of temperature and pressure, in order to enhance their performances.
Materials based on carbides of the early transition metals, such as zirconium, hafnium and tantalum, are promising systems for these applications, combining physical properties of ceramics and electronic properties of metals: high melting points (> 3900°C), high hardness and modulus, high thermal conductivity especially at elevated temperature.
Ablation tests conducted in conditions relevant for the application revealed that ultra-refractory carbides have a superior resistance compared to graphite actually employed in rocket nozzles.