3D Printed Composite-Z and Graded-Z Radiation Shields (CoGZ-Rad)

Period of Performance: 06/10/2016 - 12/09/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
11711 N. Creek Pkwy S., Suite D113 Array
Bothell, WA 98011
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Composite-Z and Graded-Z Radiation Shields (CoGZ-Rad) uses novel multi-material 3D printing techniques to fabricate a cost-effective and lightweight radiation shielding comprised of polymers and polymer composites. CoGZ-Rad relies on advancing the concept of the graded-atomic number (graded-Z) radiation shielding by utilizing new materials and materials configurations to form graded-Z, composite-Z, and compositionally graded-Z radiation shields utilizing lightweight and low cost polymers to increase the lifetime of COTS electronics in the space environment. Printing for the CoGZ-Rad effort requires a novel additive manufacturing technique in the form of multimaterial 3D printing through a single 3D printer nozzle which assists in materials mixing and the dilution of the composite 3D printer feedstock. This will allow for any of the materials configurations to be printed without a large number of materials or printer feedheads to be required. In addition to the 3D printing advancements, we will also be building a physics design tool to assess shield performance with respect to single event effects and single event upset. In Phase I, we will demonstrate the feasibility of CoGZ-Rad as a radiation shield through laboratory fabrication and testing. In phase II, we will demonstrate flight qualification of the technology to TRL-6.