NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Thermal Materials and Management
PROPOSAL TITLE:Si-O-C Aerogels for TPS of Reentry Vehicles

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough ,MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 691 - 1150

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Wendell E Rhine
30 Forbes Road, Building B
Northborough, MA  01532 -2501
(508) 466 - 3130

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA has expressed a need to identify and develop breakthrough technologies that have potential to provide increased scientific return at lower cost, and to enable missions and capabilities beyond current horizons. To make these missions feasible, advanced thermal materials are needed as thermal protection system (TPS) materials for reentry. For this Phase II SBIR project, Aspen Aerogels Inc. proposes to develop particularly innovative, lightweight silicon oxycarbide aerogels (SiCxO2-2x) that will advance the state-of-the-art for thermal protection systems (TPS) for reentry vehicles.

Aerogels are lightweight materials with exceptional insulating capabilities. Because of their low thermal conductivities and lightweight, the inclusion of aerogel based insulation materials in TPS will result in significant weight savings over the current baseline construction. During the proposed effort we will optimize the aerogel composites developed during the Phase I effort for use as high temperature insulation for reusable launce vehicles. The Phase II program will focus on complete characterization and testing so that aerogels can be qualified for use as insulation materials on reentry vehicles. The mechanical, and thermal properties of the silicon oxycarbide aerogels will be fully characterized, and a low-cost, environmentally benign manufacturing process will be used.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aerogels are the most efficient thermal insulation known, and NASA has several applications that would benefit from the low density and low thermal conductivity of aerogels. Among these are replacements for the present blankets and tiles used on the space shuttle. Aerogels could also be used as insulation materials for spacesuits, cryogenic fuel tanks, and internal insulation on re-usable spacecraft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aerogel insulation materials developed in this project could offer a replacement to the expensive insulating tile array used in the exhaust washed regions of advanced military aircraft. The potential also exists for insulating weapons, fuel tanks, electronics, and landing gear bays of military aircraft. Finally, the product will have a commercial impact in areas such as: airliner fuselages, thermal insulation for ovens, insulation for hot exhaust ducts, automotive firewall insulation, appliance insulation, and boilers and incinerators.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52