STTR Phase I: Light-Weight Bio-Based Nano-Enhanced SMC Formulations

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0810682
Agency Tracking Number: 0810682
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: AM
Solicitation Number: NSF 07-586
Small Business Information
920 Main Campus Dr., Ste. 101, raleigh, NC, 27606
DUNS: 196885318
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Larry Dickinson
 (919) 341-4178
Business Contact
 Larry Dickinson
Title: PhD
Phone: (919) 341-4178
Research Institution
 National Composite Center
 Louis Luedtke
 2000 Composite Dr
Kettering, OH, 45420 1493
 (973) 297-9450
 Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project shall utilize a multi-organizational team with uniquely experienced and multi-disciplinary personnel to demonstrate the feasibility of a new family of innovative sheet molding compounds (SMCs) that are partially bio-based and have lower density while having similar performance and cost. Kenaf natural fiber will be blended with glass fiber and combined with commercially available soy-oil based resin and select nano-materials to produce new SMC formulations that will be manufactured and validated experimentally. Innovations include 1) chemistry approaches to address the known problems of moisture absorption and strength retention in natural fiber composites and 2) fiber processing methods that will enable the use of standard fiber processing machines and existing SMC manufacturing equipment. The new lighter weight SMCs will find initial application in off-road farm equipment, automotive trunk floors, wheel wells and other non surface-critical components that currently use metal or heavier SMCs. Multiple companies who currently make SMCs and/or SMC components will license the new material technology through the National Composite Centers (NCC) newly forming SMC consortium. The development team, innovative materials combinations and processing approach have been carefully selected to enable rapid commercialization of the new technology once demonstrated. Innovative materials and combinations of materials have potential to provide cost-effective engineered materials systems that provide significant weight savings for automotive structures, thus leading to higher vehicle fuel economy. Additionally, the full or partial use of bio-based renewable materials will reduce the consumption of and dependence on petroleum based products. The exciting green aspect to this program will assist NCC's educational mission as students have great interest in environmental issues and the use of renewable resources to make a sustainable environment. NCC's cooperative education program may be utilized in support of the proposed work. Positive R&D results may serve as the basis of setting up conferences with high schools through NCC's multi-source video and videoconferencing center. As a lead agency for the effort, NSF's funding of this program will also support President Bush's American Competitiveness Initiative whose goal is to increase investments in research and development, strengthen education, and encourage entrepreneurship and enable America to remain a leader in science and technology. A focus of this research proposal is to develop technology that will enable cost-effective US manufacture of materials and components; thus supporting other Made in America type Federal initiatives.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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