Low-Weight, Durable, and Low-Cost Metal Rubber Sensor System for Ultra Long Duration Scientific Balloons

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX11CF09P
Agency Tracking Number: 104809
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: S3.07
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
158 Wheatland Drive, Pembroke, VA, -
DUNS: 008963758
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 A. Hill
 Principal Investigator
 (540) 626-6266
Business Contact
 Lisa Lawson
Title: Contracts Administrator
Phone: (540) 626-6266
Email: llawson@nanosonic.com
Research Institution
NanoSonic proposes to develop an innovative, low-cost, ultra low mass density, and non-intrusive sensor system for ultra long duration balloons (ULDB) 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 polyethylene surface of the pressurized balloon system to accurately and continually measure axial loads. Large axial load forces and extreme temperature ranges are typical for scientific balloon missions; therefore a durable, flexible, and thermally stable sensor material is needed. NanoSonic would use its highly flexible, low-modulus Metal Rubber<SUP>TM</SUP> (MR<SUP>TM</SUP>) materials as strain/pressure sensors that are capable of large cyclic deformation without failure. MR<SUP>TM</SUP> 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, MR<SUP>TM</SUP> can behave like a rubber band in that it can be folded / compressed for stowage and then can be deployed and continually pressurized without failure. 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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