Versatile Structural Radiation Shielding (VSRS)

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113, Bothell, WA, 98011-8804
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Jonathan Wrobel
Aerospace Engineer
(425) 486-0100
Business Contact:
Robert Hoyt
CEO&Chief Scientist
(425) 486-0100
Research Institution:
ABSTRACT: The Phase I Versatile Structural Radiation Shielding (VSRS) Effort has successfully demonstrated the feasibility of 3D printing multifunctional spacecraft structures with integral multi-layer, multi-material, minimum-mass radiation shielding. We developed novel space-compatible materials to enable 3D printing with combinations of low-Z and high-Z materials, developed advanced FDM techniques to enable 3D printing with high-performance polymers and metal-entrained polymers. We demonstrated fabrication of components such as avionics covers that have integral graded-Z radiation shielding. Simulation with the GEANT4 3D model as well as irradiation testing indicate that VSRS provides shielding for with better than 3X the stopping power of aluminum shielding. We propose a Phase II effort to mature and qualify the VSRS technology to a flight-ready level for to enable its infusion into DoD space systems. We will integrate the high-Z materials developed in the Phase I with additional high-strength and conductive materials and develop a process for rapidly and affordably designing, analyzing, and fabricating multifunctional VSRS components that combine minimum-mass radiation shielding customized for the operational environment along with structural strength, EMI shielding, heat dissipation, electrical conduction, thermal insulation, and M/MOD protection. We will fabricate, qualify, and irradiation test prototype VSRS components including conformal electronics covers and avionics enclosures. BENEFIT: The Versatile Structural Radiation Shielding (VSRS) effort will develop materials and processes for using additive manufacturing (3D printing) with multiple materials to create spacecraft structures that integrate multifunctional capabilities, including graded-Z radiation shielding, EMI shielding, thermal shunts, multi-layer thermal insulation, and/or M/MOD protection. VSRS will enable responsive, low-cost fabrication of spacecraft components such as conformal covers, avionics enclosures, honeycomb panels, and even spacecraft 'exoskeletons' with integral radiation shielding. VSRS will reduce the mass required for radiation shielding compared to conventional methods such as aluminum covers, and provide a responsive, low-cost means for improving the reliability of COTS and non-rad-hard components in space systems.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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