SPACESUIT GLOVE-LINER WITH ENHANCED THERMAL PROPERTIES FOR IMPROVED COMFORT

Period of Performance: 01/01/1989 - 12/31/1989

$50K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Triangle Research and Development Corporation
PO Box 12696
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Principal Investigator

Abstract

A PHASE I PROGRAM IS PROPOSED TO INVESTIGATE THE TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY OF FABRICATING AN INSULATION MATERIAL WITH ENHANCED THERMAL PROPERTIES FOR IMPROVED THERMAL COMFORT OF ASTRONAUT HANDS DURING EXTRA-VEHICULAR ACTIVITY (EVA) IN SPACE. A NOVEL APPROACH IS PROPOSED WHICH INVOLVES INCORPORATING LATENT HEAT OF FUSION OR PHASE CHANGE MATERIALS (PCMS) WITHIN A SYNTHETIC FIBER MATRIX FOR LATER CONVERSION INTO TEST FABRIC. AT THE PHASE CHANGE TEMPERATURE, PCMS ABSORB AND HOLD A HIGH QUANTITY OF HEAT DURING THE HEATING CYCLE WHICH MUST BE REMOVED FROM THE PCM BEFORE ITS TEMPERATURE CAN BEGIN TO CHANGE. WITH THE PROPER CHOICE OF PCM(S), A GLOVE INSERT FASHIONED FROM THIS MATERIAL COULD SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE THERMAL COMFORT BY PREVENTING THE TEMPERATURE EXCURSION OF THE HAND FROM TOO MUCH ABOVE OR BELOW THE PERCEIVED THERMAL COMFORT ZONE, THEREBY IMPROVING ASTRONAUT COMFORT AND EVA PERFORMANCE. THIS MATERIAL WOULD ALSO BE AMENABLE TO THE MANUFACTURE OF ARTICLES OF CLOTHING WITHOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY. PHASE I WOULD INVESTIGATE THE POTENTIAL FOR PRODUCING SUCH A UNIQUE MATERIAL, ITS EVALUATION AND COMPARISON TO A CONTROL FABRIC USING LABORATORY EXPERIMENTATION.