Development of biological based nanoparticles for improved smoke/obscurant formulations

Period of Performance: 02/06/2012 - 08/06/2012


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Genexpress Informatics, Inc.
13091 Ponds Springs Road, Suite 150
Austin, TX 78729
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249
Institution POC


Studies have shown the potential health and environmental hazards associated with hexachloroethane (HC) and terephthalic (TA) smoke/obscurants. In order to avoid using these materials, new chemical formulations are needed to address toxicological concerns and yet still maintain Grenade Figure of Merit (FOM) requirements. GeneXpress Informatics (GXI), Dr. John Conkling, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Washington College (MD), and Dr. James P. Chambers, Professor & Director Division of Life Sciences at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) propose to develop non-toxic freeze dried biological magnetite for use as an extremely hygroscopic ingredient to new smoke formulations. GXI proposes a three-prong approach. First, GXI/Conkling will determine the functional requirements of a biological based smoke/obscurant including the material hygroscopicity, FOM, YF, and screen size of 3m high by 10m long with build-up cloud of 6secs with duration of 90secs. Secondly, GXI/Chambers will spectroscopically examine and identify bacteria organisms with various axial ratios suitable for smoke/obscurant applications. Finally, GXI/Chambers will investigate the feasibility of changing/enhancing the hygroscopic characteristics. The materials developed in this program will be extremely hygroscopic and will be capable of growing in size when dispersed into the air, thereby producing a yield factor (FY) of at least 2.