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Evaluation of Multifunctional Radiation Shielding Material Against Long Duration Space Environment - Utilization of MISSE-FF, Phase I

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Project Introduction

Radiation shielding is needed to protect personnel and equipment for extended stays beyond low earth orbit. Ideally, the shielding material would be of dual use, i.e., shielding and structural. Recently, a tailorable multifunctional composite with increased structural strength combined with efficient shielding against GCR and secondary neutrons was developed by this team. For these multifunctional composites to be seriously considered for such applications as crew vehicles and habitats, their durability against the overall space environment such as atomic oxygen, UV radiation, and temperature extremes have to be evaluated. During this effort, we aim to further improve the multifunctional radiation shielding material and use the MISSE-FF facility to test our composite against the combined space environment. To further improve the shielding and structural properties of the composite, incorporation of boron nitride as nanophase particles or tubes (BNNT) and enriched boron carbide will be evaluated. Aside from having large cross-section for neutron attenuation, significant enhancements in strength and stiffness can be expected from incorporating these phases in the composite architecture. In addition to radiation and mechanical testing, these advanced composites will ultimately have to be tested against the combined space environment, which will be conducted during Phase 2 and 3 efforts. More »

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