NASA SBIR SUCCESS STORY  Glenn Research Center  
1986 Phase II 

Lightweight Structural Foams from Ceramic Materials 


Pacoima, CA  

Very lightweight ceramic foams as substrates for reflectors used in space-based solar power systems
Lightweight Mirror Structure with Aluminum-coated Quartz Faceplate
Lightweight Mirror Structure with
Aluminum-coated Quartz Faceplate
    • Developed technology to produce lightweight open-cell structural foams from ceramic materials such as boron carbide, silicon carbide, and hafnium carbide
    • Produced lightweight, high-quality reflectors using silicon carbide-hafnium carbide foam substrates with aluminum-coated quartz mirror faceplates
    • Ultimately spun off foam technology into medical field, as Hedrocel™ synthetic bone material
    • Licensed medical foam technology to Implex (Allendale, NJ), a manufacturer of musculoskeletal implants. Implex was later acquired by Zimmer, Inc. Annual sales of the technology are nearing $100 million
    • Formed joint venture, Cytomatrix (Cambridge, MA), to develop biological cell growth medium using foam technology. Cytomatrix has since merged and formed Cygenics, a publicly traded company (ASX)
    • To date, over 100 jobs have been created at Ultramet and associate companies
    • Primary NASA application is solar concentrators for advanced solar dynamic power systems
    • Currently developing ceramic and metal foam heat exchangers for both space and ground based applications
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Materials; Space Systems

Curator: SBIR Support                11/27/06