A densified carbon matrix carbon fiber composite preform is made by vacuum molding an aqueous slurry of carbon fibers and carbonizable organic powder to form a molded part. The molded part is dried in an oven at 50.degree. C. for 14 hours and hot pressed at 2000 psi at 400.degree. C. for 3 hours. The hot pressed part is carbonized at 650.degree. C. under nitrogen for 3 hours and graphite at 2400.degree. C. to form a graphitic structure in the matrix of the densified carbon matrix carbon fiber composite preform. The densified preform has a density greater than 1.1 g/cc.
This invention was made with Government support under contract DE-AC05-84OR21400 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc. and the Government has certain rights in this Invention.