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Engineered Beads for Chem-Bio Defense (CBD) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Office for Chemical and Biological Defense
Contract: W911SR-22-C-0014
Agency Tracking Number: C2-0600
Amount: $1,099,897.83
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: CBD202-001
Solicitation Number: 20.2
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-06-14
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-06-21
Small Business Information
657 S. Mechanic Street
Pendleton, SC 29670-1111
United States
DUNS: 112087726
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Stephen Hudson
 (864) 646-6282
Business Contact
 Sarah Taylor
Phone: (864) 646-6282
Research Institution

The current Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST) chemical protective ensemble for the US military is nearing the end of its mission life, requiring the development of new personal protective equipment (PPE) suits for all of the Armed Services. While new suit designs have addressed many design drawbacks of the JSLIST MOPP suits such as thermal stress and flexibility, they still lack the ability to detoxify chemical warfare agents (CWAs), reducing the risk of incidental exposure to the warfighter. Current suits include adsorbent technology based on activated carbon microspheres (beads) that adsorb but do not detoxify CWAs and therefore do not fully mitigate the chemical hazard to personnel. Improved adsorbents with additional detoxification capabilities are sought to improve future suit designs. Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are a relatively new class of materials that can be designed with extremely high surface areas, high gas adsorption capacities, and tunable chemistry. Some MOFs have been demonstrated to provide excellent detoxification mechanisms towards CWAs and other toxic industrial chemicals (TICs); however, the powdery crystalline physical characteristics of most MOFs make them difficult to incorporate into substrates such as fabrics, textiles, or coatings without blocking their active pores and thereby quenching the chemical activity of the material for decontamination purposes. During Phase I of this SBIR program, Tetramer developed microbeads containing high loading levels (>80 %) of MOFs with exceptional decontamination performance and in a form factor that can be readily applied to PPE fabrics. Phase I testing at the Army Edgewood labs confirmed that the Tetramer® MOF-beads demonstrated almost twice the reactivity for Soman nerve agent (GD) as materials that are currently considered to have “excellent” decontamination performance. Initial manufacturing methods were successfully developed for lab-scale production of the beads with good control over bead size and size distribution. Close control of these parameters are considered critical for integration into textiles for future suit applications. The proposed Phase II effort will develop and demonstrate scalable manufacturing methods for the production of MOF microbeads at the kilogram scale while working with commercial partners to integrate the beads into PPE-relevant fabrics and suit designs. Tetramer will leverage its significant materials science experience with MOF materials, polymeric binders, and functional textile coatings to develop a cross-platform bead technology to be easily integrated by PPE manufacturers. Additionally, Tetramer will work closely with major PPE manufacturers to ensure smooth transition of the beads into their products. As a result of this Phase II effort, Tetramer® microbeads will provide a disruptive enhancement in chemical and biological protection capabilities for US warfighters and industrial safety personnel world-wide.

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

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