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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Net Shape Molding of Monolithic Complex-shaped Damage-Tolerant Cryo-Insulators

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Net Shape Molding of Monolithic Complex-shaped Damage-Tolerant Cryo-Insulators
Passive thermal control of cryogenic systems using foam insulations can help achieve Zero Boil-Off (ZBO). There is as much thermal energy transferred to Cryo tanks during the ascent phase as there is during 6 days of orbital operations using MLIs. Spray on Foam Insulation (SOFI) still suffers from drawbacks both at chemistry and interfacial (bonding) levels. Currently, strong lightweight polymeric foam insulators cannot be (net shape) molded into larger complex shapes, using commercial foaming practices. The proposed Phase 1 research studies feasibility of an inventive (unprecedented) combination of processing and "green" foaming agents to "net-shape" mold low density robust (damage/MMOD tolerant) polymeric insulation foams into "monolithic" complex shapes (such as spherical or cylindrical shells, valve fittings). These can protect polymer matrix composite (PMC) tanks (such as COPVs) against external damages, hence enabling reliable, reusable cryogenic storage designs. An added advantage of this invention is the "clean" decomposition of the blowing agent and development of an environmentally "green" insulative "net-shape" foaming technology. More »

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