Materials for Morphing Shape-Memory Polymer (SMP) Skins

Award Information
Department of Defense
Air Force
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF 09-127
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
NanoSonic, Inc.
P.O. Box 618, Christiansburg, VA, 24068
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
J. Lalli
VP of Business Development
(540) 953-1785
Business Contact:
Lisa Lawson
Contracts Administrator
(540) 953-1785
Research Institution:
NanoSonic has developed Shape Memory-Metal RubberT (SM-MR), a highly electrically conductive, mechanically adaptive, thermoresponsive skins for morphing unmanned air systems (UAS). Extremely durable SM-MR skins exhibit high DC and RF conductivity, up to -88 dB EMI SE upon repeated, severe disparate shape configurations. While the conductivity is high enough for morphing without the need for embedded wires, a novel ultra-lightweight materials solution is offered to increase the efficiency of the triggering method. SM-MR is produced via an elegant, continuous self-assembly manufacturing method that allows for multiple controlled constitutive electromagnetic properties within all axes of the nanocomposite over macroscale areas. NanoSonic shall demonstrate enhanced skin responsivity in the laboratory, a wind tunnel and low altitude flight testing to increase the TRL to 6. TRLs 8 and 9 would be achieved upon demonstration of SM-MR (Tg = 125C) with <10 second, repeatable, in-flight reconfigurations on a UAS approved by Air Logistics Centers. BENEFIT: NanoSonic would produce highly flexible, electrically conductive, durable, corrosion-resistant morphing skins as multifunctional adaptive and protective shielding materials, and as unique interconnecting skins for aerospace, microelectronic, and biomedical systems. SM-MR will be primarily transitioned onto morphing aircraft to ensure efficient wing morphing and electromagnetic stability during disparate vehicle configurations. Additional military applications for various forms of the Metal RubberT nanocomposites include biomimetric systems, thermal control system materials, actuators, lightning strike protection, RF shielding for large area structures and sensors. Dual-use civil applications include low modulus conducting electrodes for high strain mechanical actuator and sensor devices, such as in medical prostheses or implanted bio-electronic devices, lightweight mechanical, electrical and thermal interconnection of electronic components on conventional circuit boards, and lightweight electronic flex circuits, flexible displays and smart electronic fabrics, and mechanically flexible coatings for systems requiring physically-robust electromagnetic shielding, ground planes or electrical interconnection.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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