NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- H4.01-8164 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023835 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Extravehicular Activity Productivity
PROPOSAL TITLE: Organic Rubber Aerogel as Thermal Insulation and Radiation Shield

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
184 Cedar Hill St.
Marlborough , MA   01752 - 3017
(508 ) 481 - 5058

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Je Kyun Lee
184 Cedar Hill St.
Marlborough , MA   01752 - 3017
(508 ) 481 - 5058

NASA is seeking innovative thermal insulation materials for extravehicular activity (EVA) systems that improve performance in low ambient pressure, reduce cost and weight, and increase durability and human comfort. Aspen Aerogels Inc. (AAI) proposes to demonstrate an organic rubber based aerogel insulation material that will provide superior thermal insulation, and inherent radiation protection for NASA?s EVA mission applications. AAI?s proposed solution will be based on organic polymer rubber materials such as Polyurethane (PU), Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM), and Polybutadiene (PB) Rubbers, thus exhibiting the flexibility, resiliency, toughness and durability typical of the parent polymer, yet with the low density and superior insulation properties associated with the aerogels. The rubbery behavior of the proposed materials will overcome the weak and brittle nature of conventional inorganic and organic aerogel insulation materials. Additionally, because of the high content of hydrogen in their structure the proposed aerogels will also provide inherent radiation protection for EVA activities. They will also exhibit inherent hydrophobicity due to their hydrocarbon molecular structure. Overall, the rubber based organic aerogel will provide exceptional thermal insulation, radiation shielding, and flexibility for NASA?s crewmember protection and space hardware and vehicles including other commercial applications.

The proposed organic rubber based aerogels will be used for thermal insulation and radiation shielding of many commercial applications as follows: garment, glove, and footwear, commercial aircraft, racing car insulation, ovens/furnaces, lasers, sport apparel, Cryogenic tanks, pipes, and other equipment, liquefied gas transport, black bodies, footwear, portable apparatus for warming, storing, and/or transporting food and medicine, sleeping bags and pads, and military and recreation tent, any other equipment that utilize a form of insulation against heat. They can be recycled for impact modifier and/or filler for conventional plastics.

The successful completion of organic rubber based aerogels will simultaneously improve thermal insulation and radiation shielding performances, reduce weight and cost, and apply to NASA?s EVA systems for Thermal Micrometeorite Garment (TMG). Others include as follows: other apparel, glove, and footwear of crew members to protect from heat and space radiation, the space shuttle and MARS exploration spacecraft, and vehicles, and many other hardware that utilize a form of insulation against heat.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10