Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Patton, Richard D.

Committee Member

Schneider, Judith A.

Committee Member

Daniewicz, Steven R.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Mechanical Engineering


A cheaper access to space is needed in current times and new technologies need to be developed to reduce the cost of space access to increase productivity. This thesis presents a study on carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites which is an enabling technology for cost reduction in space vehicles. A literature review of the behavior of CFRP composite has been conducted and it was found that the currently used IM7/977 carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites do not microcrack at a lower number of thermal cycles. Nano-composites and Thermoplastic matrix composites have been found as two promising alternatives for cryogenic applications. With the use of nano sized inclusions in currently used epoxy resins, coefficient of thermal expansion can be reduced while increase in strength and fracture toughness can be achieved. Some thermoplastics were found to have non-linear stress-strain relationships with signs of ductility even at 4.2K. Both of these resin systems show promise in reducing microcracking at cryogenic temperatures.