NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- S1.05-8338 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023661 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Spacecraft and Space Environment Interaction
PROPOSAL TITLE: Electrically Conductive Thermal Control Coating

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
EIC Laboratories, Inc.
111 Downey Street
Norwood , MA   02062 - 2612
(781 ) 769 - 9450

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Trung Nguyen
111 Downey Street
Norwood , MA   02062 - 2612
(781 ) 769 - 9450

The electrical conductivity of anodized aluminum thermal control coating will be enhanced by deposition of an electronically conductive metal oxide within the anodic oxide pores. The electrical charge that might otherwise accumulate on its surface in the ambient space plasma will leak off through the coating. This will prevent structural damage from sputtering of the alloy substrate at coating breaks, and minimize electrical noise. The improved coating is a nanocomposite, consisting of an optically transparent electronically conductive metal oxide deposited within the pores of the anodic alumina and on the coating surface. The filled pores result in low transverse resistivity and the surface coating provides efficient coupling between conductive pores and the space plasma. In Phase I, we will developed electrodeposition processes for nanocomposite coatings with resistivity and optical properties suitable for use as electrically conductive thermal control coatings. In Phase II the coating performance in space environment will be evaluated, process scale-up and engineering aspects of process development will be addressed, and basic studies in support of these efforts as well as to improve coating properties will be pursued.

Conductive anodized coatings can be used as low cost thermal control coatings for commercial satellites, such as for communications, and will provide improved performance by reducing noise from arcing associated with accumulation and discharge of surface charge.

Stable electrically conductive thermal control coatings are a core requirement of the NASA space program. For Space Station Freedom (SSF) the structure is grounded to the negative of the solar array and is about 140V below plasma potential. Discharge across discontinuities in the coating caused, for example, by impact with micrometeoroids, generates electromagnetic interference (EMI) and even sputtering of the underlying metal. To prevent EMI, grounding locations are distributed over a surface, which makes construction more complicated and expensive. With the development of an in-situ nanocomposite coating with high electronic coupling efficiency and good optical properties, the charge could leak off through the coating so that damage and interference from charge build-up would be prevented. Also, the nanocomposite coating will weight far less, cost less, and is much simpler to manufacture than alternative coatings such as inorganic paint or organic coating.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10