Synthesis and Analysis of Nanoparticle Composites for Space Radiation Shielding

  • Grulke, Eric (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


This project will synthesis nanoparticle composites suitable for radiation shielding, and analyze their radiation and structural properties. Our objective is to develop nanocomposites with the following multifunctional characteristics: I) radiation shielding near that of polyethylene, 2) tensile and flexural strength near that of polyethylene, and much highcr toughness and impact strength than that of polyethylene, and 3) excellent flame retardancy. We also propose determining the ballistic and/or hypervelocity impact performance of our nanocomposites. The research team is materials engineer with experience in nanoparticles dispersions and nanocomposites (University of Kentucky), a nuclear engineer with extensive experience in radiation shielding measurements (Georgia Institute of Technology), and a small business specializing in adhesion and interfacial chemistry (Adhesion Solutions, Inc.). Composites made by dispersing nanoparticles into polymers can have improved mechanical and transport properties. Nanoscale dispersions of asymmetric nanoparticles (long cylinders or flat disks) with high thennal conductivities can give polymers with improved flame retardancies, and may improve impact performance at very high strain rates. We will use components with excellent space radiation shielding properties: polyethylene as the continuous phase and boron-containing nanoparticles as the dispersed phase. While polyethylene/boron blends have been previously considered for radiation shielding, our focus will be to synthesize nanophase dispersions « I00 run in discontinuous phase size). High interfacia1 adhesion between the polymer and nanoparticles phases will be needed to obtain the best multifunctional material pcrformance. We will use thin film adhesion testing methods to accelerate research on surface functionalization methods. Radiation shielding tests will demonstrate whether there are differences in radiation shielding based on nanoparticle type, orientation, and dispersion quality. These multifunctional nanocomposites could be fabricated using conventional polymer process technologies. and would be suitable for use in composite sandwich constructions, as foams and coatings. as tilled fibers. and as structural polymers in a variety of spacecraft applications.
Effective start/end date8/2/0412/31/06


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