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SBIR/STTR

A Novel Radiation Shielding Material, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

A Novel Radiation Shielding Material, Phase I
In order to safely explore space, humans must be protected from radiation. There are 2 predominant sources of extraterrestrial ionizing radiation, namely, Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) consisting primarily of nuclei of atoms (up to Fe) and Solar Energetic Particles (SEP), which includes mainly high-energy protons. In addition, neutrons that are formed due to breakdown of the incoming radiation flux in the shielding material have to be accounted for. An innovative, castable, boron coated, polyethylene epoxy is potentially a cost-effective lightweight radiation shielding material possessing structural as well as shielding properties. During Phase I, techniques will be evaluated for coating polyethylene particles with boron to prevent sedimentation of the higher density boron in the epoxy. In addition, techniques will be developed to uniformly disperse these particles in an epoxy matrix. Radiation simulations will also be performed. From these simulations it will be determined what parameters, such as volume percent boron coated, polyethylene particles, are necessary for this material to provide optimal protection to humans and electronics in a deep space environment. During Phase II, the fabrication techniques will be optimized. Samples will be produced for extensive mechanical properties testing as well as for radiation testing. More »

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