High Temperature, Binder-free Insulation
REL began research into Advanced Materials in 2001, and that paved the way to the company’s involvement in the 2006 NASA’s Return to Flight with the Discovery Space Shuttle. Leveraging 30 years in machining and building custom equipment along with in-depth knowledge of aluminum and ceramic materials has permitted REL to break into new markets with the development and deployment of cost effective, lightweight metal matrix composite (MMC) components. The core technology was founded on a key development for NASA. REL was responsible for providing an ultra-high temperature insulation material that made space flight possible after the Columbia disaster. REL developed the ‘ultra-high’ temperature insulation component of the patch kit that is mandated cargo on every vehicle launch and on the international space station.
After the Return to Flight
This NASA insulation success led to the integration of this high strength, high temperature resistant fiber to be used in MMC components and casting facilitation products. This new insulation product line has 2 key components: The Golden Blanket and TRABO Spray. TRABO is an insulation that is a spray-on application of the Golden Blanket that creates an insulated coating on a casting mold. This allows for low temperature coating and casting while keeping the same dies and reducing scrap and re-melting of the metals. It provides a longer time period to freeze-off or cold-shut which improves part fill-out reducing hot tears and shrinkage defects, improving the cast surface appearance. The spray is very versatile as it is applicable to high pressure casting, squeeze casting, low pressure-permanent mold casting, and tilt pore-permanent mold casting. By running dyes cooler, it increases the solidification rate of the metal being casted. Shown in the graph to the left is a heat up of steel cubes immersed in molten aluminum. The blue line on the graph is steel being heated without the spray, while the red line is coated in TRABO Spray. As shown, the coated steel heats at a much slower and controlled pace than the uncoated sample. An additional use for the spray is on steel or ceramic inserts which avoids pre-solidification.
TRABOTM Spray – Mold Insulative Coating
TRABOTM Spray was inspired by REL’s development for NASA’s return to flight effort. REL is now deploying TRABOTM spray in many new and innovative applications. This insulative spray is extremely useful in casting light metal alloys. REL has used TRABOTM for in-house manufacturing for the past 3 years and it is now available to be purchased by industry.
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