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Proceedings Paper

High Temperature, Electrically Conductive Graphite Composites For Space Nuclear Power.
Author(s): M. L. Lake; J. A. Woollam; R. O. Dillon; A. Ahmed; K. K. Brito
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Paper Abstract

Space nuclear power systems require materials with low density, high thermal conductivity, and high electrical conductivity at elevated temperatures. Vapor grown carbon fiber (VGCF) is a novel material which is a good candidate for these structures. VGCF has been shown to have combined characteristics of thermal conductivity, strength and modulus which exceed values for PAN and pitch-based fibers, and has an electrical conductivity comparable to single crystal graphite. Major thrusts of the current research are to explore growth and processing of vapor grown fibers, and to study the effect of boron doping on the electrical properties of VGCF. Doping of graphite is known to change the distribution of electrons between energy levels in carbon, to enhance graphitization, and to modify the chemical composition of the surface of carbon fibers. Measurements of electrical resistivity as a function of temperature from 4 K to 2700 K have been obtained. The product of resistivity times density of annealed VGCF has been observed to be substantially lower than that of refractory metals at temperatures exceeding 1000 K, suggesting the utility of this unique material as an electrical conductor in space nuclear power thermionic conversion and other high temperature applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 April 1988
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 0871, Space Structures, Power, and Power Conditioning, (6 April 1988); doi: 10.1117/12.943633
Show Author Affiliations
M. L. Lake, Applied Sciences, Inc. (United States)
J. A. Woollam, Applied Sciences, Inc. (United States)
R. O. Dillon, Applied Sciences, Inc. (United States)
A. Ahmed, Applied Sciences, Inc. (United States)
K. K. Brito, Applied Sciences, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0871:
Space Structures, Power, and Power Conditioning
Raymond F. Askew, Editor(s)

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