There are some photos of the Apollo Lunar Module ascent engine, see 1, 2, 3. The nozzle looks like being made of epoxy and fiberglass. The fibers are wound in two different directions.

Is it true or something different material?


1 Answer 1


I've confirmed that it was made of "plastic" but not what type yet.

The combustion chamber assembly consists of an engine case and mount assembly and a plastic assembly, which includes the nozzle extension. The engine case and mount assembly is bonded and locked to the plastic assembly to form an integral unit. The plastic assembly provides ablative cooling for the combustion chamber; it consists of the chamber ablative material, the chamber insulator, the nozzle extension ablative material, and a structural filament winding. The chamber ablative material extends from the injector to an expansion ratio of 4.6. The chamber insulator , between the ablative material and the case, maintains the chamber skin temperature within design requirements. The ablative material of the nozzle extension extends from the expansion ratio of 4.6 to 45.6 ( exit plane) and provides ablative cooling in this region. The structural filament winding provides the structural support for the plastic assembly and ties the chamber and nozzle extension sections together .

Source "LM10 Handbook Volume 1" page 2.3-41 and 2.3-42 (pp. 296-7 in the 800+ page pdf)

This schematic confirms that the "structural filament winding" mentioned above was fiberglass.

enter image description here

Source: Apollo Experience Report: Ascent Propulsion System

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    $\begingroup$ At first I wondered if the word "plastic" might be an adjective (as opposed to "elastic") but I guess not. Seeing as how weight minimization was so critical here and re-use out of the question, a plastic rocket nozzle, while astounding, sounds possible. I'd planned on getting something done today, but maybe I will just spend the rest of the day reading these documents! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 3:30
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    $\begingroup$ Still looking for more info. Perhaps it's our old friend phenolic? space.stackexchange.com/questions/22003/… $\endgroup$ Commented May 28, 2018 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ To fix the fiber glass windings, you need a liquid that transforms into a solid by polymerization. Using a thermoplastic material like PVC or polyamide will be difficult. There are bisphenol epoxy resins, see. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 8:26

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