Advanced Aerogel Composites as Insulation Materials
NASA seeks new and innovative technologies for materials, processes, and manufacturing that will provide safe, reliable, lightweight, and less expensive launch vehicle and spacecraft components. This project focuses on improving the strength of the lightest weight material known to man, i.e., aerogels. Improvements in strength would allow these materials to be used on launch vehicles and in spacecraft and result in significant reductions in the weight of cryogenic insulation and high temperature Thermal Protection Systems. Although, no results for continuous fiber-reinforced silica aerogels have been reported in the literature, fiber reinforced materials offer a combination of strength and modulus that are either comparable to or better than either material used separately. The strength to weight ratios and modulus to weight ratios of reinforced aerogels would be markedly superior to those of the current generation of aerogel materials. Therefore, in the proposed effort we will investigate continuous fiber aerogel composites as an approach for improving their mechanical properties. We will also investigate the organic modified silica gels as an approach for improving resilience of aerogels at low temperatures. A low-cost, environmentally benign manufacturing process will also be used.
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Aspen Systems, Inc.
184 Cedar Hill Street Marlborough, MA 01752
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