NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 O3.03-8842
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Vehicle Integration and Ground Processing
PROPOSAL TITLE: Lightweight, Cost Effective LOX Compatible Aerogel Insulation Material for Cryogenic Fluid Transfer Applications.

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
30 Forbes Road, Bldg B
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 691-1161

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Redouane Begag
30 Forbes Road, Bldg B
Northborough, MA 01532 - 2501
(508) 466-3124

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Energy-efficient cryogenic insulation is an imperative requirement for the future of space travel. In order to advance the space program, NASA must find cost effective solutions to store and disperse propellants at cryogenic temperatures. The true cost for an insulation material depends upon the energy tradeoff between thermal efficiency and lifecycle maintenance for an insulation system. Durability is a critical factor for insulation systems because performance can degrade over time if appropriate attention is not given to environmental exposure and thermal cycling. Aspen Aerogels proposes to develop a cost effective, low density, aerogel insulation material that is liquid oxygen compatible for terrestrial LOX and LH2 pipes and feed lines applications. Besides its exceptional thermal insulation performance, these novel aerogels are super-hydrophobic and durable, affording a superior protective layer for the pipelines against environmental corrosion. During the Phase II Program, Aspen will further optimize the material and scale-up to production levels with a focus towards long-term applicability to replace conventional cryogenic insulation material in the pipelines and expand its use in other government and commercial applications. This novel insulation will reduce cryogenic storage costs by increasing the life expectancy of the system while decreasing the cost of installation and lifecycle maintenance.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The development and optimization of Aspen's low cost and durable aerogel insulation will be immediately useful for wide variety of cryogenic applications such as cryogenic tanks, transportation (pipelines) of cryogens and propellant, Mars exploration, near earth orbit spacecraft and also non-cryogenic applications such as high temperature insulation up to 500oC. This material will be an excellent substitute for the expensive, heavy, and cumbersome vacuum jacketed MLI for cryogenic insulation onboard spacecraft as well as other applications where lightweight, durability and maintainability of insulation are important.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The low cost aerogel insulation will be applicable and beneficial to industries ranging from aerospace to automotive, medicine, food processing, Chemical Processing and Appliances. Some specific applications are as follows:
• Medical: Energy efficient storage of cryogens for medical use is always of interest.
• Food Processing: In poultry and seafood processing, use of LN2 is quite common nowadays for quick freezing and preservation.
• Appliances: Refrigerators and freezers can use high performance aerogels insulation, either evacuated or unevacuated.

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.

Fluid Storage and Handling
Propellant Storage
Spaceport Infrastructure and Safety
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56