NASA SBIR 2002 Solicitation

FORM B - SBIR PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02-II H4.01-8164 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023835 )
PHASE-I CONTRACT NUMBER: NAS9-03028
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)
Jekyun Lee
jlee@aerogel.com
184 Cedar Hill St.
Marlborough , MA   01752 - 3017
(508 ) 481 - 5058

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Polyurethane and polybutadiene rubber aerogel composite materials are being developed for thermal insulation and radiation shielding materials for extravehicular activity (EVA) systems. The new flexible, resilient aerogel composite materials will offer significant system design and performance advantages over Multi-layer Insulation (MLI) in low ambient pressure environments. During Phase I of SBIR contract NAS9-03028, Aspen Aerogels synthesized prototype rubbery aerogel composites with excellent flexibility and low thermal conductivity. The relatively large hydrogen content of the new rubber aerogels will provide some radiation protection for EVA mission applications. The new aerogel composites do not generate dust and exhibit the flexibility, resiliency, toughness and durability typical of the parent polymers. The proposed Phase II research program will initially focus on iteratively improving the physical and mechanical properties of the two new classes of rubber aerogels via Design of Experiments methods and intensive testing and measurement. Project partner Hamilton Sundstrand will participate in a design conceptualization study in the last trimester of the project. The study will identify a potential path for integrating the new materials into EVA suit designs using characterization and testing data for the optimized candidate material and generate a design plan to guide a Phase III effort.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Flexible organic rubber aerogel composites will improve thermal insulation performance and radiation shielding at a reduced cost for Thermal Micrometeorite Garment (TMG) applications in next generation EVA suits. Insulation layers in EVA suit gloves, footwear, and helmets could also potentially utilize the new insulation materials. The rubber aerogels are air, water and vacuum capable and thus could be incorporated into new single suit designs for a broad spectrum of astronaut mission functions, including launch. The excellent durability and toughness of the rubber aerogels might facilitate use in cryogenic insulation applications in difficult vibrational and acoustic (e.g. launch) environments.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA APPLICATION(S) (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Organic rubber based aerogels will be used for thermal insulation in cold weather garments, gloves, and footwear. Other potential applications include use as insulation in commercial and military aircraft, cryogenic tanks, liquefied gas transport, footwear, systems for warming, storing, and/or transporting food and medicine, sleeping bags and pads, military and recreational tents, etc. The new rubber aerogels can be recycled for use as impact modifiers and/or filler materials for conventional plastics.


Form Printed on 10-03-03 11:34