Hydrogenous Polymer-Regolith Composites for Radiation-Shielding Materials

Period of Performance: 06/17/2015 - 12/17/2015

$125K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

International Scientific Technologies, Inc.
P.O. Box 757
Dublin , VA 24084
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

NASA has identified a need in Sub-topic H11.01 for advanced radiation-shielding technologies using in situ resources, such as regolith, to protect humans from the hazards of galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) during extra-terrestrial missions. The radiation species of greatest interest are light ions (particularly protons), heavy ions (such as iron-56) and neutrons. International Scientific Technologies, Inc., in conjunction with The College of William and Mary, proposes the use of regolith combined with hydrogenous polymers to develop radiation-shielding structural materials for habitats. The program Technical Objectives include selection of hydrogenous polymer binders for use in regolith radiation-shielding materials, fabrication of polymer-regolith specimens designed to shield against galactic cosmic radiation species and to act as structural components in habitats, and acquisition of test data to determine key parameters for the development of optimal radiation-shielding regolith-composite materials. The innovation is the development of polymer-regolith composites for structural radiation-shielding materials to protect humans on deep-space missions. The anticipated result is the creation of composite materials that combines in situ resource utilization (ISRU), i.e. regolith, with a hydrogenous polymeric matrix. Additives, such as boron, could be included to enhance absorption of neutrons generated by interactions of GCR and SPE particles with shielding materials. The proposed composites have multifunctional properties of radiation shielding against galactic cosmic radiation, neutrons and electromagnetic radiation, and structural integrity to permit use in habitats.