Form 9.B Project Summary

Chron: 972410

Proposal Number: 25.02-3400

Project Title: New Balloon Envelope Material Specification

Technical Abstract (Limit 200 words)

The innovation described in this proposal will permit the rapid assessment of new superpressure balloon materials for use as an envelope in the Martian atmosphere and/or in the Earth's stratosphere. The use of scrim reinforced thin films has been considered for many years and occasionally used with polyethylene films. However, the high modulus property, required for superpressure balloons to prevent unstable deformations and resulting altitude excursions, limits the choice of materials significantly. The requirement to "design to cost" for the delivery of a balloon to Mars further limits the choice of materials to those that possess known, reliable properties. Polyester film has been successfully bilaminated to form a composite structure with the necessary strength, weight, and permeability at low temperatures. Although, the scrim reinforcement adds weight, it gives the resulting composite material the tear strength that is absent in the base material. This Phase I research will demonstrate the effect of packing density on the gas loss properties of two layers of three micron polyester film bilaminated with light weight scrim reinforcement.

Potential Commercial Applications (Limit 200 words)

The development of a superpressure balloon material with an areal density of half that of the thinnest nylon film available would create the potential for a new type of free floating communication relay network. This new material will make it possible to fly higher than previously considered possible with lighter payloads. However, electronic miniaturization is proceeding at a fast pace and the envisioned network may be possible in the future with extremely light weight components. The stratospheric network will make possible global communication from a cellular telephone at a fraction of the cost today. One balloon could provide telecommunications capability for the entire island of New Guinea where the terrain would make conventional transmission systems cost prohibitive. The commercialization of the stratosphere is waiting for the successful emonstration of this innovation.

Name and Address of Principal Investigator (Name,

Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)

James L. Rand

Winzen Engineering, Inc

12001 Network Blvd - Suite 200

San Antonio , TX 78249

Name and Address of Offeror (Firm Name, Mail Address,

City/State/Zip)

James L. Rand

Winzen Engineering, Inc.

12001 Network Blvd - Suite 200

San Antonio , TX 78249