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T0100-P

Creation of Titanium-Based Nanofoams in Reduced Gravity for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Production

PI: Kristen Scotti, Northwestern University - Evanston

The creation of nanoporous metallic foams (NMFs) through self-propagating high–temperature synthesis (SHS) is an emerging field of research. Titanium based NMFs are of particular interest in the aerospace industry due to titanium’s resistance to corrosion and high strength-to-weight ratio. The objective of this research includes creating and examining titanium-based NMFs by initiating a thermite, SHS reaction in the microgravity environment provided by parabolic flight. The foams created on the parabolic flight will serve to advance technology by using the materials created in microgravity in the development of prototype dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC).

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA03 Space Power & energy Storage
  • TA10 Nanotechnology
  • TA12 Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems and Manufacturing
Problem Statement

The creation of nanoporous metallic foams (NMFs) through self-propagating high–temperature synthesis (SHS) is an emerging field of research. Titanium based NMFs are of particular interest in the aerospace industry due to titanium’s resistance to corrosion and high strength-to-weight ratio. Titanium’s lightweight nature invites the creation of even lighter, open pore structured materials that maintain a high degree of structural integrity. The objective of this research includes creating and examining titanium-based NMFs by initiating a thermite, SHS reaction in the microgravity environment provided by parabolic flight. The foams created on the parabolic flight will serve to advance technology by using the materials created in microgravity in the development of prototype dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC).

Technology Maturation

Knowledge gained from the proposed research may aid in the development of lightweight materials for the purpose of improved space systems, launch vehicles and payload systems. This will enhance the ability to extend and sustain human activities beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO) by creating a technology which increases the reliability and safety of access to space while also decreasing the overall costs.

Future Customers

It is expected that findings will conclude that terrestrial based gravitational influences result in the creation of inferior Ti foams, with Ti foams created in microgravity exhibiting both a higher porosity and strength-to-weight ratio.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    AFO6 (June 2013)
  • Program Status
    Completed
  • Current TRL (?)
    TRL 4
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 2 Parabolic

Development Team

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