NASA has identified a need for state-of-the art textile materials in support of the new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) spacesuit that will protect astronauts during lunar surface exploration and operations in extreme environments. NanoSonic is a small, advanced materials company with expertise in additively manufactured (AM) polymers and composites for use in for high oxygen environments. We have worked extensively with our STTR partner, Virginia Tech, on the development of new nanolayer extruded (NLE) filaments and electrospun nonwovens that offer unique properties unavailable through traditional processing methods. In this STTR, NanoSonic offers our NLE processed extreme environment materials as new textiles for the Environmental Protection Garment (EPG) of the xEMU’s which acts as the first line of defense on spacewalks. Our related textile materials offer protection from flammability in oxygen-rich atmospheres, although have not been woven or electrospun into their ultimate systems to date. Specifically, our filaments have been evaluated for resistance to combustion in our custom-built vertical burn test chamber within an atmosphere of 36% oxygen and atmospheric pressure. These materials in their panel form passed the vertical burn test for fire retardance in a modified NASA-STD-6001B procedure for material screening. Here, NanoSonic and VT shall work with our partner at Bally Ribbon Mills to weave the new garments. The new textiles shall benefit garments for the International Space Station, Human Landing System (HLS), Artemis, Gateway, and Orion.
Potential NASA applications for NanoSonic and VT’s nanolayered extruded textiles include the xEMU as the next-generation spacesuit which will benefit several space programs, namely the International Space Station, Human Landing System (HLS), Artemis, Gateway, and Orion.
Non-NASA applications for the nanolayered extruded materials include terrestrial applications, medical protective equipment, and aerospace systems and material ranging from lightweight COVID killing 3D printed masks to new firefighting turnout gear.