Lightweight Aerogel Structural and Insulation Materials
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30 Forbes Road, Northborough, MA, 01532
AbstractThe Exploration Systems architecture presents some propulsion challenges that require new technologies to be developed. To solve these challenges, NASA needs new technologies for long term cryogenic propellant storage, management and acquisition applications in-space as well as on the lunar surface. These technologies will impact cryogenic systems for space transportation orbit transfer vehicles, space power systems, spaceports, spacesuits, lunar habitation systems, robotics, and in situ propellant systems. The sizes of these systems range from the small (< 20 m3 for supercritical air and payload cooling) to very large (> 3400 m3 for LOX and LH2 propellant storage). Advanced materials are needed to help solve the unique requirements of these small to very large storage systems. Thus, this SBIR project will focus on improving the strength of aerogels which are the lightest weight and best insulation material known. Improvements in the strength of aerogels would allow these materials to be used as advanced insulation materials capable of retaining structural integrity while accommodating large operating temperatures ranging from cryogenic to elevated temperatures. The properties of the aerogels will be tailored by controlling their densities and strengthened by reinforcing them with fibers and modifying the aerogel framework with organic crosslinking agents.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.