SBIR Phase II: High Performance Structural Composites with Cellulosic Nanoparticles

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1560753
Agency Tracking Number: 1560753
Amount: $721,101.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2016
Solicitation Year: 2015
Solicitation Topic Code: MI
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
9721 Derrington Rd, Houston, TX, 77064
DUNS: 079081745
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Elisa Teipel
 (956) 371-4505
Business Contact
 Elisa Teipel
Phone: (956) 371-4505
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project seeks to commercialize high-strength thermoplastic composites reinforced with cellulosic nanoparticles (CNs) as a replacement for heavier glass‐reinforced composite materials for structural automotive components. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to create sustainable, high‐performance nanocomposites. Expected weight savings is between 13 and 20% per component. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations require significant increases in fuel economy for vehicles, which has led carmakers to look for innovative ways to shed vehicle weight. It has been shown that for every 10% in weight savings, vehicle fuel consumption is reduced by 7%. The target application is to replace heavy glass reinforcement in polymeric composites with CNCs for car parts, providing lighter weight vehicles with increased fuel efficiency. On‐going research into CN materials has resulted in significant reductions in cost (with more reductions expected), making CNs an increasingly attractive functional natural nanofiller, the processing of which will provide jobs in both the manufacturing and the technology sector. Successful implementation of CNs into composites could not only lighten vehicles and reduce environmental impact, but also transform a waste stream into value-added materials, reducing the amount of waste produced by these industries. During the SBIR Phase I period, the company showed that lighter thermoplastic composites reinforced with cellulosic nanoparticles could meet the tensile strength values of glass-reinforced composites with much higher loadings, thereby saving part weight. The Phase II grant will allow the company to scale up the manufacturing processes necessary to produce these lighter, more sustainable composites for the automotive industry. Furthermore, the company will improve performance of these materials in order to attain performance parity with higher‐loaded glass‐reinforced parts and potentially to compete with ultra‐high performance materials such as carbon fiber composites and metals. This technology will be produced using efficient and economical manufacturing processes, allowing this to become a true drop‐in technology for automotive part-makers.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government