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Which type of carbon composite is used for making tiles in space crafts?


The Space Shuttle Orbiter heat tiles are actually not made up of carbon composites. Instead, they are made from sand which is turned into silica fibers. These fibers transfer heat at a very slow rate. On top of the silica, the tiles are covered in black glass which reflects around 90% of the heat. This protection allows the spacecraft to withstand the reentry temperature. In fact, the Orbiter’s inner aluminum body only gets up to 305 degrees during reentry because the tiles work so well.