NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 A2.05-8813
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Revolutionary Materials and Structures Technology for Propulsion and Power Components
PROPOSAL TITLE: Surface Modification of Exfoliated Graphite Nano-Reinforcements

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Adherent Technologies
9621 Camino del Sol NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111-1522
(505)346-1685

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ronald E. Allred
adherenttech@earthlink.net
9621 Camino del Sol NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111-1522
(505)346-1685

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Nano forms of graphite and carbon, such as flakes, worms, and tubes, can significantly modify the properties of polymers when used as reinforcements. Challenges remain in processing composites with these nano-reinforcements in the form of attaining uniform dispersions. Many of these difficulties are due to a lack of wetting of the nano-reinforcements by the polymer. Poor wetting is caused by the very low surface energy of the as-produced graphite nano-reinforcements. Opportunities exist for modifying the surface chemistry and energy of nano-reinforcements that will allow improved wetting and provide a means for chemical bonding at the interface with high temperature polymers such as PMR-II-50 polyimide. Two approaches for surface modification are proposed: (1) oxidative plasma treatments to populate the graphite surface with carboxyl and hydroxyl groups, and (2) bonding of polyimide oligomers to the nano-reinforcements using reactive coupling agents. Both of these approaches have proven successful with micron size carbon and graphite fibers and with nanofibers. As such, these treatments should result in nano-reinforced composites with superior mechanical properties and environmental durability.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
The surface modified graphite nano-reinforcements will find use in numerous demanding applications. In particular, when combined with high temperature polyimide resins, they will be used in engine and propulsion applications to reduce weight and improve performance. They will also find uses with conventional fiber-reinforced composites to increase matrix properties.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
These unique nano-reinforcements will find many applications in structural composites for military and commercial aircraft, aerospace, chemical processing, and medical structures. The nano-materials markets are projected in the billions of dollars in the next decade, which will provide numerous outlets for the surface modified nano-reinforcements.