Nanostructured Composites for Space-Bound Housings

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mainstream Engineering Corporation
200 Yellow Place Array
Rockledge, FL 32955
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


In satellites designed to monitor nuclear explosions, current electromechanical housings are fabricated from aluminum, which is much heavier than composite materials. Because it costs approximately $10,000 per pound to put an object into space, weight is critical. However, even with the obvious weight advantage, composite materials are not used: their low strength and minimal conductivity render present-day composites unsuitable for electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding. This project will develop carbon-nanotube-based composite materials with much higher thermal and electrical conductivity. With increased conductance and carbon nanotube strength, these advanced composites would be suitable for space-bound housing. Phase I will synthesize carbon nanotubes, combine them in a resin to be hardened, and test the materials for strength and conductance. Phase II will involve further refinement and upward scaling for an eventual space-bound housing structure.Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Lightweight conductive composites would have obvious use in aviation, where weight is critical. In addition, nearly every fabrication industry seeks to reduce the mass of its products ¿ this new class of carbon nanotube composites would be highly sought