NASA SBIR 2018-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-1- Z2.01-1194
 Thermal Management
 Thermally Conductive Rubber ("Thubber") for Passive Cooling of Heat-Generating Hardware Embedded in Soft Goods Space Technologies
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
16 Union Station Road
Newark , DE 19711-2810
(302) 540-7959

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Carmel Majidi
5434 Wilkins Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217 - 1025
(302) 540-7959

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Carmel Majidi
5434 Wilkins Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217 - 1025
(302) 540-7959
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 7
End: 8
Technical Abstract

In this SBIR project, we will develop a passive thermal management system for microelectronics that are integrated into space suits, gloves, and other soft goods.  The system will be composed of a thermally conductive rubber that is molded around the heat-producing components.  In order to enable mechanical deformation, the microelectronic components will be wired together with soft and stretchable circuitry.  In general, the circuit wiring can be any soft conductor that maintains low electrical resistivity when stretched.  For the purposes of this project, we will use wiring composed of a non-toxic, biocompatible eutectic alloy of gallium and indium.


Potential NASA Applications

Potential applications include space suits, assistive robotic systems (X1 Robotic Exoskeleton, Space Suit Robotic) Glove, and human-machine interfaces used for humanoid robots  (Robonaut 2).  These technologies contain embedded motors, sensors, microelectronic processors, batteries, and other heat generating components.  As the number of these components increases, the soft goods architectures used in these application must be engineered to efficiently manage heat and avoid thermal hotspots. 

Potential Non-NASA Applications

The technologies developed in this proposal will also be applicable to wearable electronics for biomonitoring, augmented/virtual reality, and personal computing.  These applications require integrated heat management systems that have a small form factor and do not rely on bulky hardware for heat exchange.  However, because the system is integrated into a deformable soft goods architecture, it must also be flexible, stretchable, and mechanically robust.

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