NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 16.03-6000

PROJECT TITLE : Flame Resistant Space Crew Clothing Using an Environmentally Friendly Surface Treatment

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Ion beam-based surface treatments are proposed to minimize heat transfer and enhance flame resistance in clothing materials. Although currently available heat- and flame- retardant additives and treatments significantly increase heat and flame exposure time, they generally involve use of environmentally hazardous materials; additionally, further enhancements in flame-retardation are desired. Recent research at places such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated that ion beam treatment of polymers produces a heavily cross-linked surface layer. Treated surfaces are extremely resistant to chemical attack and form an impermeable barrier to evolution of volatile chemical groups from the material. Additionally, recent developments in ion beam-based coating technology now permit adherent metal coatings on organic materials. The synergistic effects of ion bombardment and a metallic coating, which can be performed simultaneously in the same treatment system, would provide enhanced heat- and flame- resistance to many types of organic materials. The metallic coating would reflect thermal energy, keeping the treated material cooler, and the ion beam bombardment would prevent evolution of volatile chemical moieties that contribute to the combustion process. These treatments can be performed at low cost, do not produce environmentally hazardous effluents, and do not add weight or affect material function, flexibility, or durability. The proposed research would establish effectiveness of the surface treatments in tests of flame retardation.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The proposed technology has tremendous potential for providing clothing with enhanced heat and flame resistance. It would be applicable to not only space crew clothing, but to firfighter's garments, children's pajamas, bedding, etc.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Mr. Eric Tobin
Spire Corporation
One Patriots Park
Bedford, MA 01730-2396
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
Spire Corporation
One Patriots Park
Bedford, MA 01730-2396