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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Hydrogenous Polymer-Regolith Composites for Radiation-Shielding Materials, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

NASA has identified a need in Sub-topic H11.01 for advanced radiation-shielding technologies using in situ resources, such as regolith, to protect humans from the hazards of galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) during extra-terrestrial missions. The radiation species of greatest interest are light ions (particularly protons), heavy ions (such as iron-56) and neutrons. International Scientific Technologies, Inc., in conjunction with The College of William and Mary, proposes the use of regolith combined with hydrogenous polymers to develop radiation-shielding structural materials for habitats. The program Technical Objectives include analysis of polymer-regolith specimens to supplement the empirical results of the Phase I program, fabrication of polymer-regolith materials and structures for use as radiation shields, acquisition of families of test data to determine key parameters of polymer-regolith structures for stopping galactic cosmic radiation on the Mars surface, and design of polymer-regolith bricks for habitat construction of the Mars surface. The innovation is the development of polymer-regolith composites and their efficient fabrication for structural radiation-shielding materials to protect humans on deep-space missions. The anticipated result is the creation of composite materials that combines in situ resource utilization (ISRU), i.e. regolith, with a hydrogenous polymeric matrix. Additives, such as boron, could be included to enhance absorption of neutrons generated by interactions of GCR and SPE particles with shielding materials. The proposed composites have multifunctional properties of radiation shielding against galactic cosmic radiation, neutrons and electromagnetic radiation, and structural integrity to permit use in habitats. More »

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