NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 03- II B3.06-8593
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Radiation Shielding to Protect Humans
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Novel Radiation Shielding Material

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scott O'Dell
scottodell@plasmapros.com
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811-1558
(256)851-7653
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Radiation shielding simulations showed that epoxy loaded with 10-70% polyethylene would be an excellent shielding material against GCRs and SEPs. Milling produced an elemental boron coating on the polyethylene particles suitable for protecting against low energy neutrons. For up to 30 volume percent particle loading of the composite there was the near random distribution of particles needed to produce an excellent radiation shielding material. The mechanical properties of the composite system were found to decrease ~1000psi with each 10% increase in particle loading. The specific strength of the 10% B coated polyethylene particle epoxy composite was 206,529 in, within 85% of the specific strength of Al 2219. Using a stronger epoxy matrix, the specific strength of the composite developed during Phase II could easily equal or surpass that of Al 2219. During Phase II, radiation testing will be performed. Prototype shielding panels will be constructed. High tensile strength epoxy matrices will be investigated to provide sufficient tensile strength while optimizing the radiation shielding capabilities given by loading the matrix with B coated polyethylene particles. An integrated thermal protection system (TPS) for the optimized composite will be developed that also provides increased strength and impact resistance against micro-meteorites.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Commercial potential for the technology being developed is very high. Potential applications include, but are not limited to, particle accelerators, nuclear reactors, radioactive biological and nuclear waste containment vessels, satellite hardware shielding, radiation shielding on high-altitude fighter planes, radiation protection for passengers and crew on high-altitude commercial airliners and military vehicles, and patient shielding for medical services.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 100 WORDS)
Lightweight structural radiation shielding materials are needed to shield humans in aerospace transportation vehicles, space transportation vehicles, large space structures, such as space stations, orbiters, landing vehicles, rovers, and crew exploration vehicle habitats.