Through the proposed NASA SBIR program, NanoSonic and Virginia Tech will create highly flame resistant, environmentally robust HybridSil® polyamide fibers that will provide the next generation of fire resistant textiles employed within apparel fabrics used during intravehicular missions and space habitat occupation. NanoSonic’s HybridSil polyamide fibers will be molecularly engineered for exceptional flame resistance through the covalent integration of precisely tailored, phase separated polysiloxane domains that rapidly transition to insulating ceramics upon fire exposure, as well as provide increased hydrophobicity for improved water repellency / hydrolytic durability, and enhanced softness for elevated comfort. During the Phase I effort, NanoSonic will synthesize a series of segmented HybridSil polyamide thermoplastics using pilot scalable synthetic procedures and empirically optimize fundamental structure-property interdependences affording optimal combinations of fire resistance, mechanical strength, and environmental durability. Down-selected HybridSil polyamides will be processed into fibers by the Chemical Engineering Department of Virginia Tech and tested for flammability within an atmosphere of 36% oxygen and pressure of 8.2 psi.
This NASA SBIR program will build from NanoSonic’s high flex, fire resistant HybridSil technology, which has undergone extensive fire evaluation (ASTM E-1354, ASTM E-1321, ASTM E-84), passed the full-scale ISO 9705 room corner burn test for qualification as a “fire restrictive material” per the IMO and has an established health rating of zero. HybridSil resins have a current production capacity of 8,000 lbs. / day, a MRL of 6, and have been integrated onto combat active DoD platforms. NanoSonic is currently working with Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control to transition a related high temperature, fire resistant HybridSil material to Phase III pilot scale manufacturing.
NanoSonic’s flame resistant HybridSil polyamide fabrics will have direct integration potential within apparel fabrics used during intravehicular missions and space habitat occupation.
Broad secondary, non-NASA applications for NanoSonic’s flame resistant (FR) fabrics exist within the military and civilian FR fabric industries.