Nose and wing leading edges for future generations space vehicles will withstand very high temperature in an oxidizing environment. UHTC (Ultra High Temperature Ceramics) materials are very promising candidate materials for such applications. An innovative, proprietary methodology was developed to produce, by plasma spraying deposition, a ceramic composite containing SiC particles (25 wt %) dispersed in a ZrB2 matrix. With such a technique both coatings and self standing parts were fabricated. In the present paper, the results of mechanical characterisations, carried out on self standing samples, are presented. Tensile and bending properties were determined by mechanical tests on as sprayed samples and on samples exposed at high temperature (2173 K) in oxidising conditions. Experimental results clearly evidenced the possibility to use the plasma spraying technology and suggest that the so fabricated ZrB2-SiC material is suitable to be adopted as protective coating.

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