Ultra-High Strength, Lightweight, Manufacturable CNT Nanocomposites
The objective of this Air Force SBIR program is to develop and demonstrate methodologies that facilitate manufacturing of carbon nanotube (CNT) enhanced structural nanocomposites. NanoSonic will integrate its novel molecularly tailored CNT dispersants with supercritical CO2 dispersing agents to uniformly disperse nanoparticulates into multiple matrix materials, and demonstrate significant bulk mechanical property enhancements combined with significant weight reductions. NanoSonic will also integrate its high performance water ingress minimization materials to ensure long term composite viability. The proposed materials and manufacturing processes are inherently low cost, environmentally friendly, and extremely effective for large scale manufacturing of extremely uniform, well-dispersed nanocomposites for use in numerous engineered structures. Additionally, the proposed materials and processes offer methods to fully realize the benefits of nanomaterial integration, resulting in significant enhancements in composite performance, weight and cost reduction, and multifunctional integration, all of which are crucial for Air Force and DoD vehicle and structure sustainability. During the Phase I effort, NanoSonic will work closely with multiple defense primes for design oversight and platform considerations. BENEFIT: Potential DoD applications are nearly limitless with the proposed materials and manufacturing technologies. Structural applications will benefit via significantly enhanced strength and weight reductions. Thermally conductive composites may be manufactured with higher performance and reduced cost. Well-dispersed electrically conductive CNTs provide low cost shielding and direct conductive pathway integration. Water repellency provides minimized water ingress, which is a significant problem in nearly all applications where composites are used for metal replacement. For metallic materials, the proposed materials will minimize corrosion, reducing maintenance and concerns of potential structural integrity damage resulting from corrosion. Because of the dynamic applicability of NanoSonic"s nanocomposites, the potential market spans from military to civilian, opening the door to endless possibilities in multiple industries. Higher performance, stronger, and lighter weight materials may be produced with a process that is directly insertable into current manufacturing operations, potentially reducing cost via higher throughput and significant performance enhancements. Thermally insulating nanocomposites could be fabricated for applications such as automotive firewalls or high performance insulations. Electrically conductive nanocomposites can provide EMI shielding for cellular telephones and other portable communications devices. Water repellency provides corrosion protection and potential frictional drag reduction for higher performance, cost and energy saving commercial aircraft and automobiles.
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