Conductive Polymer Elastomers as Gap Treatment Material for Aircraft

Period of Performance: 09/02/2003 - 09/02/2004

$100K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

TDA Research, Inc.
12345 W. 52nd Ave. Array
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Colorado School of Mines
1500 Illinois St
Golden, CO 80401
Institution POC

Abstract

The Air Force maintains a fleet of aircraft that depend on low-observability to successfully carry out their missions. This low-observability depends on a continuity of electrical conductivity at the outer mold line of the aircraft, and thus the panel seams and gaps must be filled with a conducting material. Currently, metal-filled elastomers or resins are used, but these materials suffer from poor durability and repairs are difficult and time consuming due to the slow cure rates. TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) has identified a new material that combines good electronic properties with excellent flexibility and elongation and could be an attractive alternative to metal-filled gap sealants. This material contains both an elastomeric and a conducting polymer component. During Phase I TDA will synthesize the new material, and optimize its structure and formulation based on detailed characterization carried out in the laboratories of both TDA and the Colorado School of Mines. A successful project will lead to the synthesis, development and application of a flexible conducting material, which could be used to replace heavy and expensive metal-filled composites used as gaskets, seals, or gap treatments wherever conductivity must be maintained or static charge dissipated. Flexible conducting materials with good mechanical properties could also be used as electromagnetic shielding and antistatic packaging materials for electronic components.