Honeycomb silicon carbide composite mirrors are made from a carbon fiber preform that is molded into a honeycomb shape using a rigid mold. The carbon fiber honeycomb is densified by using polymer infiltration pyrolysis, or through a reaction with liquid silicon. A chemical vapor deposit, or chemical vapor composite (CVC), process is used to deposit a polishable silicon or silicon carbide cladding on the honeycomb structure. Alternatively, the cladding may be replaced by a freestanding, replicated CVC SiC facesheet that is bonded to the honeycomb. The resulting carbon fiber-reinforced silicon carbide honeycomb structure is a ceramic matrix composite material with high stiffness and mechanical strength, high thermal conductivity, and low CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion). This innovation enables rapid, inexpensive manufacturing.
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