NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Cryo & Thermal Management
PROPOSAL TITLE:Sprayable Thermal Insulation for Cryogenic Tanks

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough, MA 01532-2501
(508) 691-1161

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Roxana   Trifu
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough, MA  01532-2501
(508) 466-3114

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The Sprayable Thermal Insulation for Cryogenic Tanks (STICT) is a thermal management system applied by either an automated or manual spraying process with less sensitivity to process chemistry and environmental parameters than current spray-on foam insulations (SOFI) like BX-265, while providing better insulation performance. The sprayable insulation based on aerogel forms an aerodynamically smooth, uniform coating with better cohesion and lower thermal conductivity. Aerogel sprayed insulation has shown in Phase I better thermal performance than polyurethane spray-on foam insulation at similar or lower areal densities. Application of thinner layers of insulation combined with greater material resistance to cracking and debonding will eliminate the generation of in-flight debris. Minimization of volatile gas blowing agents and organic components will reduce gas expansion through intracellular pressures and reduces the risk posed by shedding events during ascent. The proposed sprayable insulation can render future space transportation systems safer and more reliable. Addressing lower temperature requirements of the thermal protection system, lightweight hybrid aerogel sprayable compositions will be developed. Hybrid aerogels with various dopants will be synthesized for better compatibility with the binders or organic foams. For the most stringent thermal and mechanical loads silica aerogel? silica foams will be developed as sprayable insulation.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
STICT would replace some of the spray-on foam insulation (SOFI) products used on launch vehicles employing cryogenic propellants. In this application, it would exhibit higher thermal performance and mechanical durability than competing systems. Most importantly, it would minimize in-flight debris shedding, thereby improving the safety and reliability of US space transportation. The sprayable insulation can also be sprayed onto cryogenic feeding pipelines, elbows or other systems necessitating thermal protection and are difficult to insulate otherwise.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In addition to benefiting the NASA space flight program STICT will fill application needs in commercial markets. STICT will compete against polyurethane and polyisocyanurate foams. Subsea oil and gas pipelines, fuel cell systems, and LNG transport ships will benefit from adopting STICT insulation. The foamed plastic industry is the fastest growth potential area for insulative materials. This market is carried by the non-residential construction market (nearly 50%), followed by miscellaneous applications, residential construction, and industrial and HVAC equipment. The industry is experiencing growth in advanced technology application, such as Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs). Although these markets are relatively small, they are experiencing rapid growth from their small initial base.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04