NASA STTR 2004 Solicitation


RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE:Self-Healing Repair technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE:Wire Insulation Incorporating Self-Healing Polymers (WIISP)

NAME: NextGen Aeronautics, Inc. NAME:Virginia Tech
ADDRESS:2780 Skypark Drive, Suite 400 ADDRESS:460 Turner Street, Mail #0170
CITY:Torrance CITY:Blacksburg
STATE/ZIP:CA  90505-7519 STATE/ZIP:VA  24061-0170
PHONE: (310) 626-8384 PHONE: (540) 231-7789

Terrisa   Duenas

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NextGen and Virginia Tech are developing a self-healing material for wire insulation using a class of ionomeric polymers. These ionomers exhibit self-healing properties as a function of the ionic content of the material. Previous work has focused on self-healing of puncture damage caused by projectiles, has shown that an airtight seal can be formed in real time seconds after the puncture has occurred.

Since self-healing has already been demonstrated, the major technical challenge of this effort is to stimulate the localized melt elastic response that has been shown to initiate self-healing. Our concept is to incorporate a magnetically-responsive phase into the insulating polymer using magnetic flux particle alignment to induce localized heating during high-frequency excitation of the polymer. Tuning the frequency of the electrical signal to the critical frequency of the polymer associated with the glass transition temperature will produce localized heating of the insulation. Localized heating, initiated by a wiring damage event such as arcing, will cause flow into the crack and, upon cooling, the crack will close over the wire and eliminate the exposure of the bare wire. With proper arrangement of nanoparticles the impact on material property can be minimized, while site-specific self-healing can be demonstrated.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Potential NASA commercial applications include extraterrestrial vehicles that cannot be repaired on-site, systems that are too complex to be disassembled for repair, and critical components that cannot function with damage. The Space Shuttle, for instance, has critical wiring similar to that used in aircraft, nuclear and other industries. Repair of wiring insulation is essential to safeguarding such systems. This research could result in a self-healing material that could reduce spacecraft wiring failure thereby saving maintenance costs, minimizing inadvertent damage due to inspection, correction and other collateral damage as a result of wire failure (example arcing), and the associated saving of human lives. Specific components that could benefit include signals and associated instrumentation conductors; power and control conductors; fiber optic cables; circuit breakers, relays, control panels, generators, and other connector components. Integration with other advanced multi-functional NASA materials or technologies such as simultaneously facilitating diagnostics/prognostics features is also possible.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Potential Non-NASA applications include aircraft, complex machinery, remote vehicles, commercial vehicles and construction. Each of these contains critical, complex wiring that cannot always be easily accessed. Repair of wiring insulation is critical to maintaining proper functionality of sophisticated vehicles and systems. Specific aerospace components that could benefit include fuel tank wiring, systems for anti-skid systems, generator wiring, control surfaces and associated wiring, circuit breaker panel wiring, equipment rack wiring, and wiring hub areas such as wing root, below wings, and in the cockpit. Self-healing wiring could be used inside buildings to prevent arcing or contact between bare wire and a surrounding material. This technology could be integrated with other advanced multi-functional material technologies. For the military, advanced uniforms, armor, and helmets that self-heal could be developed. Finally, materials for recreational and competitive yachting, car racing, unmanned vehicles as well as sporting goods and leisure equipment would benefit from self-healing.

Form Printed on 01-27-06 14:58