NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 O2.04-8904
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Tank Technology Development
PROPOSAL TITLE: Microcrack Resistant Matrix Materials for Out-of-Autoclave Processing of Composite Cryogenic Tanks

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Composite Technology Development, Inc.
2600 Campus Drive, Suite D
Lafayette, CO 80026 - 3359
(303) 664-0394

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kaushik Mallick
2600 Campus Drive, Suite D
Lafayette, CO 80026 - 3359
(303) 664-0394 Extension :114

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The next generation of launch vehicles under development by NASA requires significant mass reduction to fully meet mission and performance needs. For example, NASA is aiming to create a new generation of heavy-lift launch vehicles to support both human spaceflight and space exploration missions. To ensure these vehicles can support all of the NASA needs, the mass of the propellant tanks must be significantly reduced, primarily through the use of composite materials. However, two primary challenges must be overcome to enable the use of composite tanks for these new classes of heavy launchers. One is to develop novel, microcrack-resistant, polymer matrix composite materials that will enable construction of 5 to 10 meter diameter composite tanks, and the second is to develop out-of-autoclave manufacturing methods that will enable the cost of these tanks to be 20-25% less than that of metal tanks.

In the proposed program CTD plans to develop and evaluate new materials that will provide a strain to initiate microcracking that is 50% higher than that of the current materials. At the same time the materials will be optimized for out-of-autoclave processing of composite tanks. Of particular interest are low void content, long out-life, good tack properties, and out-of autoclave cure characteristics. The Phase I material development effort will explore several polymer chemistries including toughened epoxies, Polybenzoxazines and a hybridized version of the Polybenzoxazines and toughened epoxies. At the end of Phase I, CTD will fabricate and test a 15-cm-diameter by 18-cm-long, 1.9L cylindrical subscale tank to demonstrate the processing feasibility and performance of the new material.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The linerless composite cryogenic tank technology that is proposed herein can provide enabling capabilities for several near-term and longer-term NASA mission goals including those intended for future heavy launch vehicles, planetary and asteroid decent and accent vehicles, in-orbit spacecraft re-fueling as well as for long term storage in deep space on one planetary surfaces such as the moon. Indeed, the development of lightweight, linerless composite tanks for these applications will help to reduce mass, which is a critical need for these systems. Lightweight composite tanks can also be used for storage of hydrogen in fuel cell driven high altitude long duration aircraft as well as other unmanned air vehicles with varying mission objectives. In addition to storage tanks, the manufacturing technology being developed here can be used for composite cryogenic piping and other aircraft parts.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The linerless composite cryogenic tank technology that is proposed can provide enabling capabilities for a variety of other government, industrial, and commercial uses. For example, liquid hydrogen tanks can store more fuel in a given volume (i.e. higher energy density) when compared to their compressed gas counterparts making composite liquid hydrogen tanks attractive to automotive manufacturers such as BMW. Additionally, the out-of-autoclave prepreg materials developed under this program would be highly valued for larger manufacturing efforts that use prepreg process such as for wind and tidal turbine blades and large aircraft structures.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Processing Methods

Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43