SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Yuriy Romaniw
TIME: Tuesday, January 17, 2012, 9:00 a.m.
PLACE: MARC Building, 114
TITLE: The Relationship Between Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer Use and Life Cycle Environmental Impacts of Rocket Systems
COMMITTEE: Dr. Bert Bras, Chair (ME)
Dr. John Colton (ME)
Dr. Kyriaki Kalaitzidou (ME)
Dr. John Muzzy (CHBE)
Dr. Alan Wilhite (AE)
Dr. John Griffith (Boeing)


The proposed research will address the topic of life cycle environmental impacts of a rocket system as a result of material selection. This research seeks to determine whether replacing traditional metal structures in rockets with carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPís) will have a net positive improvement in the rocketís life cycle environmental impacts. Previous analyses of the environmental cost/benefits of CFRPís have been on systems that are significantly different from rocket systems. As a result, the models, analyses, and conclusions from research into these other systems cannot be used for rocket systems. Furthermore, it has been found that no such holistic, life cycle models or analysis has been done for rocket systems. Therefore, it is not exactly known how material selection changes the environmental impacts of a rocket over its life cycle. The research will develop a model to answer whether or not the use of CFRPís has an overall life cycle benefit, how the costs/benefits of CFRP use change when different propellants are considered, and where in the life cycle the cost/benefits will be experienced. These questions will be answered by performing a life cycle analysis (LCA) on the system, taking into account the unique properties of the system. While answering these questions, the general relationship between CFRP use and life cycle environmental cost/benefits will be established. This fundamental relationship provides insight into the system using an approach that takes into account the uniqueness of the system. This research can be used to aid future research into the topic by providing experience in modeling rocket life cycle environmental impacts. The experience would include which assumptions can be made, what data is necessary, what elements drive the life cycle environmental burdens of the system, and what elements of the system contribute little to the systemís life cycle burdens. With the increasing demand and growth of the large rocket industry, rocket use is expected to increase. The relationships and models developed in this research provide better insight into the system than currently exists. This insight can be used to identify or predict environmental issues with the system that have previously gone unnoticed or have been ignored.