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National Association of Rocketry Dallas Area Rocket Society

April 6, 2002
Thermal Expansion
I took the SkyPirate to the Dallas Area Rocket Society's monthly club meeting. After the meeting, some of us went out for dinner and an anticipated problem, thermal expansion of the PML Quantum tube, revealed itself in an unexpected way.

There are dozens of posts on RMR about Quantum tube and thermal expansion. Typically the posts concern the ejection piston not fitting right because of temperature fluctuations changing the diameter of the Quantum tube. So what happened?

Moderate temperatures, I left the rocket in the car while dining. When I came back to the car, I was surprised to discover the epoxy joints between the strakes and main wings had split. What I had not considered was that the Quantum tube would expand lengthwise as well.

This both surprised and concerned me. First, my project was extremely well built. Two centering rings were used ahead of the fins and tons of epoxy reinforced with microfibers, were used for the internal and external fillets. Second, these were mild temperatures and Texas can get a lot hotter.

April 28, 2002
My solution to the strake/wing separation was a two phase process. Phase 1 was rebonding the pieces. This time I baked the rocket in the car, letting the joints expand and break apart as much as possible. I then removed the rocket from the car and did a quick epoxy application to the joint and returned the rocket to the car for to cure.

Later, I applied a thin layer of fiberglass over the joint. Hopefully, this will hide any future cracking.

The external fillets, got a layer of Elmer's Fill'n'Finish, which was then sanded down as smooth as possible.

May, 2002
Primered the SkyPirate. I tried something different on the primer. The first coat was Krylon primer and the second coat was DupliColor primer. Additional work has been set aside until I'm finished moving. Look for updates in July.

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