Self-Assembled Nanostructured Health Monitoring Sensors
The objective of the proposed NASA SBIR program is to design, fabricate and evaluate the performance of self-assembled nanostructured sensors for the health monitoring of advanced aerospace materials and structures. NanoSonic would work with a major U.S. research university and a large U.S. aerospace company to develop such sensor materials based on molecular-level self-assembly processes. NanoSonic?s prior research has shown that thin film materials having a wide range of controlled constitutive properties may be formed by its patented electrostatic self-assembly synthesis techniques. Specifically, electrical and thermal conductivity, permeability, permittivity, elastic modulus, chemical reaction, molecular transport and other properties may be integrated into bulk materials, graded through the thickness of such materials, or patterned in two dimensions in thin planar materials. The ranges of values of the corresponding constitutive parameters are determined by the specific molecules that are self-assembled, and their order through the thickness of the material. Through the proposed program we will extend this work to form similar materials that change their properties in response to external environmental changes and thus act as sensor elements. Such elements may be directly integrated into aerospace composite materials and/or attached to large structural components as part of onboard health monitoring systems.
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