NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Spacecraft Cabin Atmospheric Management and Habitation Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:CNT-Based Smart Electrostatic Filters for Capturing Nanoparticulate Lunar Regolith

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Agave BioSystems Inc
PO Box 80010
Austin, TX 78708-0010
(512) 671-1369

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Joel   Tabb
401 E State Street
Ithaca, NY  78708-0010
(607) 272-0002

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The abrasive, reactive, and ubiquitous nature of lunar regolith created significant and serious problems during the Apollo moon missions. In this Phase I, Agave BioSystems, in collaboration with Dr. Randy Vander Wal of the Universities Space Research Association, propose to develop next generation smart filters using novel carbon nanotube (CNT)-based structures in electrostatic devices. Since CNTs have extremely high surface area, can function without the mass transfer limitations of traditional filtrations systems, and they can be charged to emit very high charge densities, they constitute an ideal material for integration into spacecraft air handling systems as electrostatic filtration components. The overall goal of this program is to build upon the unique structural and electronic nature of carbon nanotubes to create novel smart filters. By synthesizing the CNTs in situ on solid mesh supports and integrating them into a novel electrostatic particle collection unit, we aim to create novel filtration media capable of removing airborne lunar regolith from spacecraft airlock and cabin atmospheres.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
During the Apollo moon missions, lunar regolith created significant problems. Regolith stirred up by astronauts on the lunar surface covered almost every surface, leading to: the clogging of equipment; abrasion and degradation spacesuit fabric and materials; the blocking of astronaut vision; degradation and failure of vacuum seals; and the inhalation of regolith by Apollo astronauts. If NASA is to meet the goals put forth by President Bush 2004 to return humans to the moon by 2020, then a variety of technologies will be needed to handle the problems associated with lunar regolith. The CNT-based electrostatic smart filters described in this proposal can integrate with lunar module and spacecraft environmental air handling systems to capture, trap and airborne regolith particles from airlocks and cabin atmospheres. These electrostatic smart filters will also have applications in spacecraft to trap and inactive airborne microorganisms present in cabin environments.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Airborne particulates present a major environmental problem today. Epidemiological studies have shown that a variety of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are associated with increased exposure to airborne particulates. Major sources of particulate material include cars, trucks, construction equipment, coal-fired power plants, wood burning, vegetation, and livestock. Occupational exposure to airborne particulates is an especially serious concern, especially in mining, manufacturing and agricultural professions. The development of highly effective, energy efficient methods to remove particulate contamination from occupational environments could significantly reduce work-related illness in these industries. Applications for carbon nanotube-based electrostatic filters described in this proposal include indoor filtration systems, personal protective equipment for workers exposed to occupationally high levels of ultra-fine dust, and equipment for military personnel, firefighters, emergency medical professionals, and other first responders.

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.

Airlocks/Environmental Interfaces
Multifunctional/Smart Materials

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19