NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 B1.03-9315
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Materials Science for In-Space Fabrication and Radiation Protection
PROPOSAL TITLE: Multifunctional Carbon Nanotube/Polyethylene Complex Composites for Space Radiation Shielding

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
1321 N. Plano Road
Richardson, TX 75081-2426

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Jian Chen
1321 North Plano Road
Richardson, TX 75081-2426

Polyethylene (PE), due to its high hydrogen content relative to its weight, has been identified by NASA as a promising radiation shielding material against galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), due to their small diameter, high-mechanical strength, and high-electrical and thermal conductivity, are recognized as the ultimate carbon fibers for high performance, multifunctional composites. Prior studies failed to produce the CNT/polymer composites that fully exploit nanotubes' outstanding mechanical, electrical and thermal properties because of poor dispersion of nanotubes in polymer matrices and poor adhesion between nanotubes and the polymer matrix,. Zyvex has developed a versatile and non-damaging chemical platform that allows us to engineer specific nanotube surface properties to permit homogeneous dispersion of nanotubes in various solvents and polymer matrices, and enables the significantly enhanced adhesion between nanotubes and the polymer matrix. The major innovation of our technical approach is to marry these two outstanding materials using Zyvex's chemical platform technology to produce a novel CNT/PE complex composite that not only has high radiation shielding performance, but also has high mechanical strength, high electrical conductivity, and improved thermal stability. Multifunctional CNT/PE complex composite will find broad applications in shielding humans in spacecrafts and habitats.

?Lightweight, multifunctional structural components for aerospace transportation vehicles that will enable increased radiation shielding, increased strength and longevity, improved energy efficiency, and improved vehicle payload mass to lift-off mass ratios.
?Multifunctional structural components for the space structures (examples include space stations, orbiters, landers, rovers, habitats, etc.) that combine strength and radiation shielding.
?Components for liquid hydrogen tank.
?Components and coatings for deep space power systems, and in-space manufacturing and repairing.
?Advanced materials for fabrics and coatings used in space suits and other space applications.
?Coatings and bonding agents for high-value components and equipment (examples include EMI shielding materials, ESD protection, ultra-strong adhesives, and conductive coatings for aerospace systems and components).
?Composites for satellite armor.

?Space and aerospace crafts and habitats for commercial space travel.
?Components for particle accelerators and nuclear reactors.
?Radioactive chemical, biological and nuclear waste containment vessels.
?Advanced materials for medical applications such as fabrication of prostheses and splints.
?Structural components for high-value civilian transportation applications (for example, more extensive use of composites for airframes, helicopter rotors, and skins).
?Lightweight, multifunctional materials for soldier uniforms, armor, and helmets.
?Professional sports and leisure equipment such as golf clubs, fishing rods, and tennis equipment.
?Advanced flywheels capable of significantly higher rotational speeds
?Materials for competitive yachting and car racing