NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Material Concepts for Lightweight Structure Technology Development
PROPOSAL TITLE:Ultra-Lightweight Nanocomposite Foams and Sandwich Structures for Space Structures Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Wright Materials Research Co
1187 Richfield Center
Beavercreek, OH 45430-1120
(937) 431-8811

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Seng   Tan
1187 Richfield Center
Beavercreek, OH  45430-1120
(937) 431-8811

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Space structures that are ultra-lightweight, and have gas barrier property, space durability, radiation resistance and high impact resistance are desirable to improve the reliability and provide a safe resting environment for astronauts and equipment operation. Some of the components currently in use such as stations or habitats use double-wall thick films with high internal pressure. Some components are in thin film form and the specific rigidity and dimensional stability needs improvement. Components of landers and vehicles are subject to dust impact. All these solid or hollow components are vulnerable in space because of the foreign object impact or radiation attack. In this Phase I project, we propose to develop ultra-lightweight, microcellular nanocomposite foams and sandwich structures that possess all the desirable properties mentioned above. The structural module can be compacted into a small volume to facilitate launching. The proposed microcellular nanocomposite foam and sandwich structures do not involve or release any toxicity and will have much higher specific mechanical properties than foams and sandwich structures processed by the conventional techniques. They can be used to either replace or supplement to the inflatable technology for improvement in reliability, durability, and safety in space operation. Preliminary research results are very encouraging.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed ultra-lightweight microcellular nanocomposite foam and sandwich structures have a number of potential applications for space structures including space stations and habitats, Lunar mission vehicles, landers, rigidified boom and support structures for Gossamer space structures, rover subsystems like wheels, chasis, insulation boxes masts, solar array deployment devices, shelters and hangars for space habitats, airlocks, electronics boxes, tanks/shells/shields, insulation for propellant tanks, solar arrays radar boards, and support structures for telecommunication subsystems like struts and beams, etc.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Potential commercial markets for this ultra-low density polymer and nanocomposite foams and sandwich structures may include commercial aircraft, boots, ships, trains, buses, trucks, posts, bridges, decks, automobiles, shipping containers, building panels, etc.

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
Earth-Supplied Resource Utilization
Fluid Storage and Handling
Launch and Flight Vehicle
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Propellant Storage
Radiation Shielding Materials
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Printed on 09-08-06 18:19