Super Lightweight, Metal Rubber Fabric for Extreme Space Environments
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
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1485 South Main Street, Blacksburg, VA, 24060-5556
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AbstractNanoSonic has fabricated revolutionary nanostructured, yet macroscale, multifunctional Metal RubberTM films via layer-by-layer, molecular self-assembly, which enables thickness and placement control over multiple constituents for true nanostructured multifunctionality and homogeneity (surface roughness +/- 5 nm). NanoSonic has recently transitioned this innovative approach into a method to produce flexible, super lightweight, conductive fabrics for inflatable spacecraft. In support of NASA's Vision for Space Exploration, low cost Metal Rubber FabricTM would be optimized as high performance textiles and sensors for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Specifically, nanostructured fabrics with ultra-low mass density (0.0011 g/cc), offer electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding and the elastomeric variants exhibit a novel approach to large area sensors. Metal Rubber FabricTM is not fabricated from conducting polymers or sputter coated fibers. NanoSonic's in situ approach involves chemically reacting monolayers of nanosized components, eliminating residual stress between each constituent. Metal RubberTM technology has led to advanced electrically conductive (as low as 10-5 Ω∙cm) inorganic/organic hybrid nanocomposites that can be strained to > 1000% elongation that return to the original shape and nominal conductivity when released, even at cryogenic temperatures (-80C). Metal Rubber FabricTM requires less than 1 vol% of metal, allowing the manufacturing a cost effective, advanced textiles.
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