NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
graphite/ultra-high modulus polyethylene hybrid fiber composites with epoxy and polyethylene matrices for cosmic radiation shieldingOne of the most significant technical challenges in long-duration space missions is that of protecting the crew from harmful radiation. Protection against such radiation on a manned Mars mission will be of vital importance both during transit and while on the surface of the planet. The development of multifunctional materials that serve as integral structural members of the space vehicle and provide the necessary radiation shielding for the crew would be both mission enabling and cost effective. Additionally, combining shielding and structure could reduce total vehicle mass. Hybrid laminated composite materials having both ultramodulus polyethylene (PE) and graphite fibers in epoxy and PE matrices could meet such mission requirements. PE fibers have excellent physical properties, including the highest specific strength of any known fiber. Moreover, the high hydrogen (H) content of polyethylene makes the material an excellent shielding material for cosmic radiation. When such materials are incorporated into an epoxy or PE matrix a very effective shielding material is expected. Boron (B) may be added to the matrix resin or used as a coating to further increase the shielding effectiveness due to B s ability to slow thermal neutrons. These materials may also serve as micrometeorites shields due to PE s high impact energy absorption properties. It should be noted that such materials can be fabricated by existing equipment and methods. It is the objective of this work therefore to: (a) perform preliminary analysis of the radiation transport within these materials; (b) fabricate panels for mechanical property testing before and after radiation exposure. Preliminary determination on the effectiveness of the combinations of material components on both shielding and structural efficiency will be made.
Document ID
Document Type
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Biological and Physical Space Research Laboratory 2002 Science Review
Subject Category
Composite Materials
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle20040073490Analytic PrimaryBiological and Physical Space Research Laboratory 2002 Science Review