Tesla and SpaceX have been building material engineering teams to develop new advanced materials for their respective products. The teams are so interlinked that Tesla recruiters referred to them as a “SpaceX/Tesla Materials Engineering organization. Two years ago, Musk hired Apple’s alloy expert Charles Kuehmann to lead materials engineering at both of his companies simultaneously.
* SpaceX transferred friction stir welding equipment to Tesla.
* they are also sharing knowledge of materials engineering to create new alloys for their respective products.
* With the Model 3, Tesla used less aluminum and more steel.
* Tesla and SpaceX also both use the space-grade superalloy Inconel.
* set up its own glass team within its materials engineering effort. They developed new glass products for Tesla’s solar roof tiles, the Tesla Semi, and in the Tesla Model 3.
Non-ablative hear shielding on SpaceX block 5
Before Falcon 9 Block 5, the octaweb was protected from that heating with an ablative thermal protection system, likely around 80% cork and 20% PICA-X, the same material used on Cargo Dragon’s heat shield. Based on comments made privately by individuals familiar with SpaceX, that ablative shielding is to be replaced by a highly heat-resistant metal alloy known as inconel. By ridding Block 5 of ablative heat shielding, SpaceX will no longer have to carefully examine and replace those materials after each launch, removing one of the biggest refurbishment time-sinks.
Tesla Armor Glass
During Elon Musk’s Tesla Semi announcement, he noted that the Semi’s glass will be completely impact-resistant.