Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Foam's future seen in space and industry

Date:
December 13, 2012
Source:
NASA
Summary:
Materials designed with specialized thermal properties have been integral components of NASA's space shuttles and other launch vehicles for many years. Now, two thermal insulation systems developed by scientists at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida may have application for future exploration programs, as well as the commercial world.

The thermal insulation system called AeroFoam was developed at the Cryogenics Testbed Laboratory at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The AeroFoam insulation is made of constituent materials, aerogel particles, aerogel blanket and polymide microballoons.
Credit: NASA/James Fesmire

Materials designed with specialized thermal properties have been integral components of NASA's space shuttles and other launch vehicles for many years. Now, two thermal insulation systems developed by scientists at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida may have application for future exploration programs, as well as the commercial world.

Related Articles


The thermal insulation system known as layered composite insulation, or LCI, and the foam-aerogel composite material, also known as AeroFoam, were assigned U.S. Patent numbers in 2005 and 2010 respectively. Just recently, exclusive research licenses for these technologies were granted to Flexure LLC.

Cody Bateman, the chief executive officer of Flexure, said there are numerous applications and industry crossovers, particularly in transportation and construction, which could benefit from these technologies.

"Flexure has a strong working relationship with NASA at Kennedy and Goddard Space Flight Center," Bateman said. "Since we specialize in cryogenics engineering, we are exposed to many of the best technologies in the world and understand applications where they can best be used."

Jeff Kohler is the business manager for QinetiQ North America and supports Kennedy's Technology Transfer Office. He said an exclusive research license is a short-term license that allows a company to look at technologies and determine how they want to develop them.

"Companies can commit significant resources during their evaluation of NASA technologies," Kohler said. "A short term exclusive research license helps protect their investment by granting them exclusive rights to the intellectual property associated with the invention"

LCI was developed by senior principal investigator James Fesmire, and senior principal scientist Dr. Stan Augustynowicz, co-founders of the Cryogenics Test Laboratory (CTL), with the idea for it dating back to 1998.

"The LCI system is the world record holder for the lowest thermal conductivity insulation system in a soft vacuum environment," Fesmire said. "It is made into blanket forms like multilayer insulation, but includes a third element of a high surface area material such as aerogel powder."

The AeroFoam technology, with origins back to 2002, was developed jointly by Fesmire, Trent Smith, who is now strategic communications manager for the Commercial Crew Program, lead polymer scientist Dr. Martha Williams in the Polymers Science and Technology Laboratory, lead engineer Jared Sass at Kennedy's CTL, and Dr. Eric Weiser, who was a senior materials engineer in the Research Directorate at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

According to Fesmire, AeroFoam is a composite of polymeric foams and aerogels.

"The foams and aerogels can be in different forms and be put together in many different ways," Fesmire said. "It is currently made in molded forms using heat-oven equipment."

Fesmire said both technologies could be tailored for a wide range of different applications, including cryogenic piping and tanks, building construction, superconducting power cables, hydrogen cars and space exploration habitats.

Kohler said the licensee may investigate a combination of the AeroFoam and the LCI in a soft vacuum for aerospace and military commercial applications, and in the food storage and transportation industries.

"While independently, each of these two technologies are truly innovative, combining the two technologies creates a system that Flexure believes will revolutionize the entire thermal and acoustical insulation industry," Bateman said. "The number of applications in industry is almost limitless."

Bateman added that there is still a significant amount of research required to commercialize these technologies. The first commercial use is scheduled for 2013, as several corporations have shown significant interest.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "Foam's future seen in space and industry." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213100022.htm>.
NASA. (2012, December 13). Foam's future seen in space and industry. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213100022.htm
NASA. "Foam's future seen in space and industry." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213100022.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crowdfunded Moon Mission Offers To Store Your Digital Memory

Crowdfunded Moon Mission Offers To Store Your Digital Memory

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) Lunar Mission One is offering to send your digital memory (or even your DNA) to the moon to be stored for a billion years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Accidents Ignite Debate on US Commercial Space Travel

Accidents Ignite Debate on US Commercial Space Travel

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) Serious accidents with two US commercial spacecraft within a week of each-other in October have re-ignited the debate over the place of private corporations in the exploration of space. Duration: 02:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lunar Mission One Could Send Your Hair to The Moon

Lunar Mission One Could Send Your Hair to The Moon

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) A British-led venture called Lunar Mission One plans to send a module to the moon with keepsakes from Earth. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) tells you how to get your photos and DNA onboard. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins