Novel Lightweight, Low-Cost, Aerogel Materials as Insulation for Cryogenic Tanks
Future spacecrafts require greatly improved and lighter reusable cryogenic tank insulation and TPS to achieve the ambitious goal of reducing the cost of delivering a payload to orbit by an order of magnitude. Recently, Aspen Aerogels developed a new class of flexible aerogels called Ultra-lightweight &hard cellulose aerogel. The new aerogel is 100 times stronger and harder than regular aerogel and has density and thermal characteristics as silica aerogel (low thermal conductivity 12.8 mW/m.K and low density 0.04 - 0.09 g/cc). The originality of this concept is based on the low cost fabrication, the lightweight, the flexibility, and the high thermal performance of the innovative material. Moreover, our new high temperature insulation version based carbide aerogels demonstrated unparalleled high temperature oxidation resistance under oxyacelylene torch test. Aspen proposes to use these two classes of aerogels in a multilayered sandwich configuration to insulate cryogenic tanks and protect the spacecraft structure. We believe that the application of the proposed integrated TPS/Cryogenic insulation concept will satisfy all requirements to be used in cryogenic tanks and will greatly reduce the weight of the propellant tanks and the boil-off rate of the propellant (thus reduce the size of the tanks).
Small Business Information at Submission:
Aspen Aerogels, Inc.
184 Cedar Hill St. Marlborough, MA 01752
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