NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Smart, Adaptive Aerospace Vehicles With Intelligence
PROPOSAL TITLE:Lightweight Metal RubberTM Sensors and Interconnects

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
NanoSonic, Inc.
1485 South Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060-0618
(540) 953-1785

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Andrea   Hill
1485 South Main Street
Blacksburg, VA  24060-0618
(540) 953-1785

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The objective of this NASA Phase II program is to develop and increase the Technology Readiness Level of multifunctional Metal RubberTM (MRTM) materials that can be used as 1) large strain sensors, and 2) strain-insensitive electrical interconnects for aerospace systems and structures. The aerospace systems-level problem these materials would help solve is the inability of currently available metal-based sensors and wiring/interconnects to undergo the large strains and displacements associated with shape changes of inflatable, flexible and morphing structures. During Phase I, NanoSonic demonstrated the feasibility of the MRTM family of free-standing nanocomposite materials to serve as 1) electrically-conductive, low-modulus electrode wiring for a) large displacement mechanical actuators required to affect large shape changes, and b) embedded or attached electrical data buses that are not affected by strain, and 2) strain sensors capable of measuring very large strains to allow mapping of the deformation of adaptive structural components. During Phase I, NanoSonic also developed a first-principles physical model of electrical conductivity percolation in Metal RubberTM, and performed experimental analysis to validate model assumptions. During Phase II, NanoSonic would work cooperatively with a large aerospace contractor to optimize material properties, upscale material production, and evaluate material performance under simulated space environmental conditions.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA applications of Metal RubberTM materials include 1) highly flexible electrical interconnects for mechanical actuators, robotics, flex circuits, and flexible displays, 2) strain sensors capable of measuring very large strains in multiple directions, 3) low-weight replacements for metal electromagnetic interference shielding materials and electrostatic discharge materials, 4) low-weight, flexible RF antenna and waveguide components, and 5) low mass-density replacements for metal wiring and cabling on spacecraft and exploration vehicles.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Potential non-aerospace applications for Metal RubberTM include as 1) lead-free material to replace conventional and environmentally hazardous tin-lead solders for the mechanical, electrical and thermal interconnection of electronic and mechanical components, 2) high performance, highly flexible and mechanically robust electronic flex circuits, flexible displays and smart electronic fabrics, 3) as embedded flexible power bus and data bus interconnects in biomedical prostheses, and 4) ultralow mass density EMI shielding for consumer communication devices such as cell phones and portable electronics.

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.

Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Radiation Shielding Materials
Radiation-Hard/Resistant Electronics

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04