Nanocomposites for Space Applications: Concentrated Colloidal Suspensions under Extreme Conditions
The outer space environment presents extreme environmental challenges that must be met when designing materials and systems for space suits and habitats. Materials used in space suit must be lightweight, flexible and stable under outer space low temperature and vacuum environment while still providing protection against hazards including radiation, micrometeoroids and orbital debris (MMOD), cuts and punctures from tools or sharp edges and abrasion by the space dust. Textiles intercalate with shear-thickening fluid (STF) have offered superior protection against ballistic and puncture threats and are promising candidates for use in the space suit. However, existing STF formulations based on polyglycols lack the requisite thermal and vacuum stability requirements while providing superior astronaut protection.
Our goals are to investigate new STF formulations and nanocomposites that meet the thermal and vacuum stability requirement under outer space environment with providing superior astronaut protection. Our results will be used to develop structure-property relationship to predict performance and aid in the design of STF-nanocomposites for space applications.