Organic Rubber Aerogel as Thermal Insulation and Radiation Shield
Small Business Information
184 Cedar Hill St., Marlborough, MA, 01752
AbstractPolyurethane and polybutadiene rubber aerogel composite materials are being developed for thermal insulation and radiation shielding materials for extravehicular activity (EVA) systems. The new flexible, resilient aerogel composite materials will offer significant system design and performance advantages over Multi-layer Insulation (MLI) in low ambient pressure environments. During Phase I of SBIR contract NAS9-03028, Aspen Aerogels synthesized prototype rubbery aerogel composites with excellent flexibility and low thermal conductivity. The relatively large hydrogen content of the new rubber aerogels will provide some radiation protection for EVA mission applications. The new aerogel composites do not generate dust and exhibit the flexibility, resiliency, toughness and durability typical of the parent polymers. The proposed Phase II research program will initially focus on iteratively improving the physical and mechanical properties of the two new classes of rubber aerogels via Design of Experiments methods and intensive testing and measurement. Project partner Hamilton Sundstrand will participate in a design conceptualization study in the last trimester of the project. The study will identify a potential path for integrating the new materials into EVA suit designs using characterization and testing data for the optimized candidate material and generate a design plan to guide a Phase III effort.
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