Multifunctional, Nanostructured Metal Rubber Protective Films for Space Exploration
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AbstractNanoSonic has developed revolutionary nanostructured, yet macroscale, multifunctional Metal RubberTM films. In support of NASA's Vision for Space Exploration, low cost Metal RubberTM freestanding or conformal skins would be optimized as protective coatings for human and robotic space exploration. Specifically, ultra-lightweight, nanostructured coatings with protection against electrostatic charging, abrasion and radiation over a wide range of mechanical and thermal fluctuations are offered. Metal RubberTM is fabricated via layer-by-layer, molecular self-assembly, which enables thickness and placement control over multiple constituents for true nanostructured multifunctionality (nm scale); while advanced polymers have allowed scale-up to free-standing thick films (several mm thick, at < 1 g/cc). Metal RubberTM is not a conducting polymer or a sputter-coated polymer film. It is a freestanding nanocomposite formed in situ by chemically bonding each monolayer of nanostructured constituent, thereby eliminating residual stress between each component. New, ultra-low modulus Metal RubberTM can be strained to > 1000% elongation while remaining electrically conductive; and returns to its original shape and nominal conductivity when released. Bulk resistivity (as low as 10-5 Ω∙cm), and mechanical moduli (0.1 MPa to 500 MPa) have been demonstrated. Metal RubberTM requires less than 1 vol% of metal, allowing the manufacturing a cost effective, advanced material
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