Novel Ultralow-Weight Metal Rubber Sensor System for Ultra Long-Duration Scientific Balloons

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX09CD66P
Agency Tracking Number: 084602
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solitcitation Year: N/A
Solitcitation Topic Code: N/A
Solitcitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Nanosonic, Inc.
1485 South Main Street, Blacksburg, VA, 24060
Duns: 008963758
Hubzone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Andrea Hill
 Principal Investigator
 (540) 953-1785
 ahill@nanosonic.com
Business Contact
 Lisa Lawson
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (540) 953-1785
Email: llawson@nanosonic.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
NanoSonic proposes to develop an innovative, ultralow mass density, and non-intrusive sensor system for ultra long duration balloons that will operate in the most extreme environmental conditions. Specifically, the sensors would be integrated onto the load bearing seams and/or outer balloon mesh surface of the pressurized balloon system to accurately and continually measure axial loads. Large axial load forces and wide/extreme temperature ranges (-90oC to >450oC) are typical for planetary balloon missions, therefore a durable, flexible, and thermally stable sensor material. NanoSonic would use its highly flexible, low-modulus Metal RubberTM (MRTM) materials as strain/pressure sensors that are capable of large cyclic deformation without failure. MRTM is a free-standing nanocomposite material produced by the layer-by-layer combination of high performance polymers and electrically-conducting metal nanoparticles that provide durability and recoverability for sensor transduction, and a wide thermal operation range. Importantly, MRTM can behave like a rubber band in that it can be folded and compressed for stowage and then can be deployed and continually pressurized and stretched without failure during operation. Also, because of the very low amount of metallic nanoclusters in the system (<0.02 volume %), the sensor system is extremely low-weight and would not alter the performance of the balloon.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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