NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X11.01-8223
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Radiation Health
PROPOSAL TITLE:Characterizing and Manufacturing Multifunctional Radiation Shielding Materials

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

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 implement a new manufacturing technique for the fabrication of monolithic sorbent modules for hydrogen storage and radiation shielding. We will evaluate the resulting
process for quality control in terms of shape and size consistency.
We will work with Boeing on component and system characterization of elemental composition, mechanical strength, and other functional properties. AFR will explore, in partnership with ATMI, an alternate commercialization strategy, described in the proposal. During the process and product assessment, we will coordinate possible commercial ventures with Boeing and ATMI. Previously, a prototype system was operated at two accelerators, demonstrating both operational effectiveness and the ability to significantly reduce the energy of high energy particles (48 GeV Ti ions and various energy protons).

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.

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.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Biomedical and Life Support
Energy Storage
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Propellant Storage
Radiation Shielding Materials

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12