Advanced High Temperature Adhesives for Thermally Stable Aero-assist Technologies
Aero-assist technologies are used to control the velocity of exploration vehicles (EV) when entering earth or other planetary atmospheres. Since entry of EVs in planetary atmospheres results in significant heating, thermally stable aero-assist technologies are required to avoid the high heating rates while maintaining low mass. Polymer adhesives are used in aero-assist structures because of the need for high flexibility and good bonding between the different layers of polymer films or fabrics. However, current polymer adhesives cannot withstand temperatures above 400 C. Therefore, polymer adhesives capable of withstanding high temperatures (> 400 C) are highly desirable for NASA applications. The present proposal, a collaborative effort between NEI Corporation and a NASA supplier of inflatable structures, aims to utilize our nanotechnology capabilities to address this need. The goal of this program is to develop high temperature adhesives that exhibit high thermal conductivity in addition to increased thermal decomposition temperature. Enhanced thermal conductivity will help to dissipate heat quickly and effectively to avoid temperature rise to harmful levels. This, together with increased thermal decomposition temperature, will enable the adhesives to sustain transient high temperature conditions. A key innovation of the program is to control the nanoparticle morphology so that enhanced thermal conductivity can be realized at relatively low nanoparticle loading levels. Building upon the Phase I proof of concept, the Phase II program will further develop the technology and implement it in NASA and commercial prototypes, thereby increasing the TRL to 4 or greater.
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