NASA’s Environmental Control & Life Support Systems (ECLSS) and Habitation Systems are actively seeking nontoxic, comfortable and durable flame-retardant textiles/fabrics that resist combustion in an atmosphere of 36% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2 psi (56.5 kPa) and are suitable for crew clothing. Currently there is no flame-retardant, nontoxic, comfortable, washable and durable apparel or furnishing fabric for the spacecraft cabin environment planned for lunar and planetary human exploration. To meet this need, InnoSense LLC (ISL) proposes to develop an efficient and durable nanolayer flame-retardant finishing treatment for existing fabrics using our proprietary and patented nontoxic flame-retardant materials and treatment processes. The result will be comfortable, soft to touch, breathable, washable, durable, non-toxic and odorless next-to-the-skin FR fabrics that crewmembers can wear during intravehicular activity in 36% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2 psi. ISL’s approach is to introduce permanent, covalently attached nontoxic flame-retardant material to existing fabrics. This will impart excellent FR properties without compromising crew comfort and safety. Phase I results are expected to demonstrate that ISL’s flame-retardant treated fabrics outperform the state-of-the art commercially available flame-retardant apparel fabrics. In Phase II, ISL will work with a major NASA apparel fabric provider to test ISL’s flame-retardant treated fabric performance under simulated spacecraft cabin atmospheric conditions.
ISL's nontoxic and durable FR-treated fabric technology can be used for NASA crew clothing. Other NASA uses are in protective clothing, curtains, drapes, upholstery, bedding, carpets, tents, etc. This technology will also benefit several space programs, particularly the lunar Human Landing System, Orion, Gateway, and Artemis, enabling the astronauts to function in habitats, pressurized rovers, and other space vehicles with enriched oxygen atmospheres and to shorten pre-breathe times prior to extravehicular activities.
For commercial applications, ISL’s FR-treated fabrics can be used for firefighters, electrical workers, foundry workers, and military personnel. This FR technology will also have applications as treatments for paper (e.g., stocks, bonds, wills, etc.), coatings or fillers for structural and electrical components.