UV-Curable Hybrid Nanocomposite Coating to Protect Tether Polymer Materials
To address the NASA need for coatings to protect and strengthen tether materials for Momentum-exchange Electrodynamic Reboost (MXER) technology, Luminit, LLC, proposes to develop a new UV-curable Hybrid Nanocomposite (UVHN) tether coating material matrix, based on hybrid sol-gel technology. Its principal innovations include (1) synthesis of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles by a sol-gel method to form a coating protecting against ultraviolet (UV) radiation and atomic oxygen (AO); and (2) novel use of 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane as a coupling agent that strengthens the material matrix, and promotes adhesion to tether materials. These innovations enable the UVHN to meet the NASA requirements for coatings that protect existing tether technology from the effects of UV and AO in the LEO environment, with improved tensile strength and longevity of existing tether. In Phase I Luminit will develop a glass-like polymer hybrid sol-gel UVHN protective coating for NASA's tether polymer materials, and demonstrate that it is resistant to UV and AO. In Phase II we will scale up and optimize the UVHN process to cost efficiently produce UVHN material matrices for more comprehensive UV and AO resistance tests. The resulting product will make MXER propellantless propulsion more reliable in raising and maintaining spacecraft orbits.
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