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Yadkinville, NC, United States

Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

The objective of this technology transfer effort is to leverage technology developed at Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) to develop a portable proportional counter (PC) for neutron detection. NanoTechLabs Inc. (NTL) will develop a portable proportional counter for neutron detection utilizing nanostructured field emitters. Unlike traditional proportional counters, which are typically arranged in a cylindrical geometry, the nano-PC will be arranged in parallel plate geometry. The concept is based on a controlled array of nanoscale anodes to detect the reaction products produced by the interaction of a neutron with boron-10. NTL is working on a new design to fabricate boron-coated or boron-containing nanotube arrays. These nanostructured arrays will be incorporated on a substrate, and subsequent substrates can be stacked to get further field enhancement and more signal strength. Overall sensitivity of the B-lined tubes is dependent on the tube surface area; configurations that increase surface area are a valid solution for increasing their efficiency. The focus of the Phase I efforts will be to prepare and demonstrate growth of nanotube arrays at appropriate geometry for use in PC anodes, demonstrate the efficacy of the boron coating, and performance testing of the anodes at SRNL. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Proportional counters are common in many areas of the nuclear industry (i.e., nonproliferation and safeguards, materials processing, remediation and storage) because they are capable of distinguishing between a wide range of radiation types and energies. They are vital to national security as they can be used to detect illicit trafficking of radioactive materials, which could mean the planning of a dirty bomb attack. A limiting factor of common PCs is transportability due to their reliance on a very high and stable voltage source. While this dependence is mitigated by the use of step-up transformers to increase the voltage from a portable battery supply, as monitoring for illegal transport of radioactive materials at borders, seaports, and airports increases there is a need for detection devices that are easily portable, run on small portable power supplies for long periods of time, and have high detection efficiencies. Other advantages of a nano-PC include lower operating voltage, reduced platform size and cost, and improved ruggedness.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.70K | Year: 2010

The objective of this Phase II program is to develop missile cable shielding incorporating carbon nanotube membrane (buckypaper). Current metal shielding imposes a severe weight penalty, and the shielded cables are rigid and difficult to route. Therefore, it is critical to develop non-metallic cable shielding to provide protection from electromagnetic fields at reduced weight and with increased cable flexibility. In the Phase I program, NTL demonstrated the technical feasibility of incorporating carbon nanomembrane into flex cabling architectures and validated electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding effectiveness comparable to aluminum. In Phase II, NTL will optimize the buckypaper formulation for improved low frequency response, enhanced handleability and cost effectiveness; enhance connector compatibility; develop buckypaper-shielded cable build techniques for selected products; perform operational-representative testing and assess the scale-up feasibility and insertion potential of developed technologies.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 173.02K | Year: 2011

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will employ innovative processing technologies to incorporate highly crystalline ultra-long double wall carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs) into poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide) (Kevlar) to prepare advanced structural fibers for ballistic protection for our law enforcement and soldiers, and structural materials for commercial and military aircraft. Current structural fibers are made from highly oriented, crystalline polymers or carbon. The polymer fibers are very tough, but their strength and stiffness is surpassed by carbon fibers, and each type has defined niche applications. The objective of this research is to utilize highly crystalline DWNT to combine these properties and prepare next-generation structural fibers with both high strength and toughness. This project addresses two of the most important deficiencies that have been limiting nanotube-polymer composites from approaching their theoretical properties: load transfer, by incorporating ultralong functionalized DWCNTs longer than the critical length in the target polymer, and nanotube alignment, by incorporating the nanotubes into the polymer prior to the highly orienting spinning process. The anticipated result of this research is the development of structural fibers that exceed the toughness of present polymer fibers and the strength of carbon fibers.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project, if successful, is the availability and mass production of ultra-high strength structural fibers with minimal cost increase over conventional fibers. This gives immediate impact in personal and vehicle ballistic protection affording mobility to personnel and vehicles; and in the commercial aerospace industry in which weight is becoming more of a premium as the cost and availability of fuel continues to impact this sector. The technology developed through this research will enhance scientific and technological understanding of how the physical and surface properties of carbon nanotubes affect the performance of polymers, not just for fibers but also in all-polymer composites. The Phase I team includes research institutions, manufacturers and end-users that are poised to take a successful program from the laboratory into production and commercialization. If successful, the technology will substantially impact law enforcement and peacekeeping missions, affording personnel higher mobility and better protection in order to successfully execute their duties, while potentially saving many lives. The commercial impact will be the use of this material for structural materials and armor, affording lighter weight, higher functionality aircraft and military vehicles, saving industry and the military money and materials.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.58K | Year: 2011

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will employ innovative processing technologies to incorporate highly crystalline ultra-long double wall carbon nanotubes (DWCNTs) into poly(p-phenylene terephthalamide) (Kevlar) to prepare advanced structural fibers for ballistic protection for our law enforcement and soldiers, and structural materials for commercial and military aircraft. Current structural fibers are made from highly oriented, crystalline polymers or carbon. The polymer fibers are very tough, but their strength and stiffness is surpassed by carbon fibers, and each type has defined niche applications. The objective of this research is to utilize highly crystalline DWNT to combine these properties and prepare next-generation structural fibers with both high strength and toughness. This project addresses two of the most important deficiencies that have been limiting nanotube-polymer composites from approaching their theoretical properties: load transfer, by incorporating ultralong functionalized DWCNTs longer than the critical length in the target polymer, and nanotube alignment, by incorporating the nanotubes into the polymer prior to the highly orienting spinning process. The anticipated result of this research is the development of structural fibers that exceed the toughness of present polymer fibers and the strength of carbon fibers. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project, if successful, is the availability and mass production of ultra-high strength structural fibers with minimal cost increase over conventional fibers. This gives immediate impact in personal and vehicle ballistic protection affording mobility to personnel and vehicles; and in the commercial aerospace industry in which weight is becoming more of a premium as the cost and availability of fuel continues to impact this sector. The technology developed through this research will enhance scientific and technological understanding of how the physical and surface properties of carbon nanotubes affect the performance of polymers, not just for fibers but also in all-polymer composites. The Phase I team includes research institutions, manufacturers and end-users that are poised to take a successful program from the laboratory into production and commercialization. If successful, the technology will substantially impact law enforcement and peacekeeping missions, affording personnel higher mobility and better protection in order to successfully execute their duties, while potentially saving many lives. The commercial impact will be the use of this material for structural materials and armor, affording lighter weight, higher functionality aircraft and military vehicles, saving industry and the military money and materials.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 748.60K | Year: 2014

The objective of this proposal is to develop a hybrid conductive veil technology for use in UCASS or FA/xx and also as a replacement or repair of the existing conductive metallic ground planes on legacy platforms. The hybrid veil system can be made into a prepreg and bonded directly to the composite airframe. As a composite system, it is tougher and stronger than the current ground plane system, lowering the maintenance downtime, and reducing manufacturing materials and costs.

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