NASA SBIR 2006 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Long Term Cryogenic Propellant Storage, Management, and Acquisition
PROPOSAL TITLE:Lightweight aerogel structural and insulation materials

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road
Northborough, MA 01532-2501
(508) 691-1111

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Wendell E Rhine
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough, MA  01532-2501
(508) 466-3130

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT ( Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The Exploration Systems architecture presents some propulsion challenges that require new technologies to be developed. To solve these challenges, NASA needs new technologies for long term cryogenic propellant storage, management and acquisition applications in-space as well as on the lunar surface. These technologies will impact cryogenic systems for space transportation orbit transfer vehicles, space power systems, spaceports, spacesuits, lunar habitation systems, robotics, and in situ propellant systems. The sizes of these systems range from the small (< 20 m3 for supercritical air and payload cooling) to very large (> 3400 m3 for LOX and LH2 propellant storage). Advanced materials are needed to help solve the unique requirements of these small to very large storage systems. Thus, this SBIR project will focus on improving the strength of aerogels which are the lightest weight and best insulation material known. Improvements in the strength of aerogels would allow these materials to be used as advanced insulation materials capable of retaining structural integrity while accommodating large operating temperatures ranging from cryogenic to elevated temperatures. The properties of the aerogels will be tailored by controlling their densities and strengthened by reinforcing them with fibers and modifying the aerogel framework with organic crosslinking agents.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The aerogel-based materials will have applications as cryogenic insulation and as lightweight structural components for composite cryogenic tanks.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS ( Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The aerogels developed in this project would find applications as the insulation used for LNG storage containers as well as for other cryogenic fluids. Lightweight structural aerogels would find applications as a component of composite sandwich panels that are both lightweight and insulating. Such panels could find many applications including uses in energy efficient buildings.

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 09-08-06 18:19