NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Materials and Structures for Future Aircraft
PROPOSAL TITLE:Nano-Engineered Structural Joints

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Technova Corporation
1232 Mizzen Drive
Okemos, MI 48864-3480
(517) 485-9583

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Anagi   Balachandra
1232 Mizzen Drive
Okemos, MI  48864-3480
(517) 485-9583

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A versatile class of high-performance structural joints is proposed where massive interatomic bonds over the large surface areas of nanostructured surfaces constitutes the primary joining mechanism. The new nano-engineered joints embody nanomaterials which are self-assembled and anchored onto the joining surfaces. Compatible functionalization of nanomaterials on opposite surfaces creates favorable energetic conditions for their effective engagement and joining via massive primary (chemical) bond formation. Complementary self-assembly techniques will be used for rapid, low-cost, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly processing and anchorage of nanomaterials upon substrate surfaces. Various nanomaterials and anchorage conditions can be used for different substrates (ceramics, metals, polymers, composites) and service requirements. The length of nanomateials would be selected to compensate for the surface roughness. The proposed joints can be engineered to provide broad ranges of mechanical performance, accommodate various material incompatibilities (e.g., thermal expansion mismatch), and different functionalities (e.g., thermal/thermal conductivity, or reversibility). The proposed Phase I research will establish the theoretical potential of the proposed nano-engineered joints, and will develop and characterize a precursor joint system embodying the proposed joining principles in order to verify the technical merits of the technology and its commercial potential.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Major developments in advanced materials over the past few decades have not been matched by corresponding developments in joining technologies. Hence, the distinct features of advanced materials tend to be compromised once they are assembled into hybrid, complex structural systems via conventional joining techniques (adhesive bonding, mechanical fastening, welding, and their derivatives/combinations). The proposed nano-engineered joints promise the high performance attributes, multi-functionality and versatility needed to meet the growing demands on joint performance in today's hybrid, complex structures. An example application, which is subject of our planning efforts with Boeing, focuses on joints within and between (ceramic) thermal protection systems and (composite) structures in reentry vehicles. As a versatile class of high-performance and multi-functional joints, the proposed technology promises to replace traditional joining (adhesive bonding, mechanical fastening and welding) techniques in a variety of applications in NASA's aerospace vehicles.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Joints are inherent elements of practically all aerospace systems, since such systems are rarely made of a single piece. Joints formed via adhesive bonding, mechanical fastening and welding (or their derivatives/combinations) are thus key constituents of aircraft structures. The rapid progress in development of advanced materials, and the growing trend towards design of hybrid structures for optimum use of various advanced materials have placed growing demands on joint performance. The developments in joining technology, however, have not offered options to effectively meet such growing demands. As a result, joints increasingly constitute weak links within structural systems, which define the limits on their performance and service life. The proposed joining technology promises to offer solutions to the growing joining problems in aircraft structures, and also in automotive and industrial structures employing advanced materials. The multi-functional features of the proposed nano-engineered joints could eventually expand their applications into electrical systems (as replacement for soldering) and also into thermal management systems.

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.

Launch and Flight Vehicle

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19