NASA SBIR 00-II Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10.07-9325 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 000676 )
PROPOSAL TITLE: Evacuated Microsphere Insulation Panels

Technology Applications, Inc. is proposing to develop a unique evacuated Microsphere Insulation Panel (MIP) that is over twice as effective as polyurethane foam insulation in a one-atmosphere environment and approaches multilayer insulation performance in a vacuum environment. The MIP is rugged, easily applied to cryogenic transfer lines, and not subject to degradation from environmental exposure or thermal cycling. This insulation system will enable the effective distribution and transfer of cryogens over long distances; it is a promising candidate for reusable launch vehicles, space applications, and low-pressure atmospheric applications, such as cryogenic storage and transfer for Mars missions.

The MIP consists of microsphere filled panels that are vacuum-tight and can be configured to fit any symmetrical shape. The microspheres provide structural support for the vacuum shell while reducing radiation heat transfer by reflection and scattering. Gaseous conduction is greatly reduced by evacuating to <10-2 torr, and solid conduction is minimized because the glass microspheres make only point contact with each other. The Phase I study will demonstrate the feasibility of the MIP through design, analysis, and the fabrication and testing of candidate panels. During the Phase II development program, representative MIPs will be fabricated and rigorously tested under operational conditions.

TAI is developing new vacuum insulation technology to provide the government with the capability to more efficiently and reliably insulate cryogenic supply and vent lines in existing and future facilities. NASA Stennis Space Center (NASA/SSC) is the agency's lead center for rocket propulsion, each year consuming 12 M lbs of LH2 and 3 M lbs of LOX in support of propulsion system development and testing. The Propulsion Test Directorate (PTD) has identified insulation or replacement insulation of currently non-insulated and degraded insulation on cryogenic lines as a priority for improved durability, performance and safety. With TAIs Microsphere Insulation Panel (MIP) technology there is the potential to replace tens-of-thousands of feet of cryogenic line at NASA/SSC alone. Other NASA centers, such as Kennedy Space Center, are looking for economic insulation solutions for future spaceport, cryogenic loading, and long-term cryogenic propellant storage systems that will support future NASA missions.

TAI has also been pursuing commercial relevance of the MIP for applications including high-end consumer refrigerator/freezers, scientific freezers, and specialized shipping containers. Through a partnering agreement with a flexible vacuum barrier insulation manufacturer, the MIP technology holds great promise in capturing a significant market share of the specialized commercial insulation products segment.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Mark Allen
Technology Applications, Inc.
5445 Conestoga Court, #2A
Boulder , CO   80301 - 2724

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Technology Applications, Inc.
5445 Conestoga Court, #2A
Boulder , CO   80301 - 2724

Form Printed on 11-26-01 17:18