NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Radiation Shielding to Protect Humans
PROPOSAL TITLE:Modeling, Testing and Deploying a Multifunctional Radiation Shielding / Hydrogen Storage Unit

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Advanced Fuel Research, Inc.
87 Church Street
East Hartford ,CT 06108 - 3728
(860) 528 - 9806

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Eric   Rubenstein
87 Church Street
East Hartford, CT  06108 -3728
(860) 528 - 9806

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This project addresses two vital problems for long-term space travel activities: radiation shielding and hydrogen storage for power and propulsion. While both problems have been studied for many years, there is currently no satisfactory technology for providing adequate non-parasitic shielding. Even in low-Earth orbit, astronauts must be closely monitored for radiation exposure, and some missions simply cannot be performed due to the current inability to adequately shield astronauts (e.g. Mars or surface Lunar bases). The overall objective of the proposed project is to construct, test, and deliver a prototype for hydrogen storage and radiation shielding. In Phase I we experimentally verified the radiation shielding capability of these systems and its ability to operate after being bombarded by ionizing radiation at a nuclear accelerator. In this Phase II proposal, AFR will join with Boeing to design two multi-layer configurations that could be of use for operational missions. We will then work with Prairie View A&M Univ. to perform an empirical study of radiation shielding using NSRL and Loma Linda particle accelerators. In collaboration with Prof. Larry Townsend, we will perform a complementary computational study to broaden shielding characterization and to validate shielding code performance with respect to this non-parasitic shielding concept. During the process and product assessment, we will coordinate possible commercial ventures with Boeing. The successful operation of the prototype would raise the system's TRL to 5 or 6 (system operated in a relevant environment).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The main NASA applications for the proposed technology is dual-use hydrogen storage and radiation shielding systems on board spacecraft, space station, and also smaller versions used for innovations in spacesuit design, possibly a specially modified Hard Upper Torso (HUT). The primary purpose of this effort is to develop a piece of hardware for NASA that can ultimately be an important component of a Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS), providing at the same time energy-storage functionality. The systems developed as a results of the proposed study will be useful to NASA in at least two respects: 1) radiation shielding for people and electronics, and 2) fuel storage for propulsion or electrical power generation. The multi- functional material in the current study significantly boosts the hydrogen storage ability of compressed gas cylinders and provides excellent radiation shielding characteristics, and results in a mass reduction for spacecraft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial areas that are under exploration are primarily related to fuel cell systems, with automobiles and other transportation vehicles of particular interest. The main application of the developed carbons would be in gas-storage systems (automobiles, trucks, buses, locomotives, spacecraft, submarines, UAV's, etc.), with additional applications including radiation shielding in other aerospace environments (satellites, military/astronomical detectors sensitive to obscuring background radiation, high-altitude, long-duration aircraft, etc.). AFR has also been approached by a firm specializing in hazardous gas packaging for their interest in storing gases at less than atmospheric pressure. In such an application, our sorbent has the potential to double or triple the amount of gas in a cylinder, with concomitant gains in savings and efficiency. Other uses of carbons with well-controlled pore structure include carbon molecular sieve membranes for gas separations, ultracapacitor electrodes, and catalysts. AFR is actively working with Maxwell Technologies, our industrial partner, to bring our ultracapacitor electrode technology to market.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52