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Center Innovation Fund: LaRC CIF

Titanium Nanocomposite: Lightweight Multifunction Structural Material (TiMMnC)

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Titanium Nanocomposite: Lightweight Multifunction Structural Material

We propose to research and develop lightweight metal matrix nanocomposites (MMnC) using a Titanium (Ti) metal matrix. Ti MMnC will crosscut the advancement of both science and structure to facilitate architecture and systems for long duration human extraterrestrial exploration. A Ti MMnC have the potential for greater than 20% mass reduction with improved radiation shielding and mechanical properties and serve the immediate need for lightweight multifunctional structural materials that are stronger and more reliable than the current state of the art (SoA). 

In support of NASA’s Technology Roadmaps TA 10 and 12, we propose to research and develop lightweight metal matrix nanocomposite (MMnC) using Titanium (Ti). Ti MMnC will crosscut the advancement of both science and structure to facilitate architecture and systems for long duration human extraterrestrial exploration. Ti MMnC have the potential for greater than 20% mass reduction and serve the immediate need for lightweight multifunctional structural materials that are stronger and more reliable than the current state of the art (SoA). The SoA for high specific strength metals is titanium and its alloys; such as Ti-6Al-4V (density of 443 kg/m3). Ti MMnC can be multifunctional materials that outperform SoA titanium alloys. Researchers have tried to make composites of titanium and carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The previous work demonstrated that the addition of CNTs can improve mechanical and hardness properties of titanium. However, CNTs react with the metal to form titanium-carbide during high temperature pressing, which is believed to increase the hardness and strength but reduce the ductility of titanium. Nanoparticles with the advantage of a higher thermal stability can endure the high temperature processing within the titanium without property reduction. We propose to fabricate Ti MMnC with thermally and chemically stable nanoparticles.

In this work, computational modeling will be utilized to identify a nanoparticle with high temperature and chemical stability that also has a strong interaction with the titanium metal matrix.  Based on these computational efforts, composites will then be designed and fabricated.

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