Polymer-Reinforced, Nonbrittle, Lightweight, Cryogenic Insulation for Reduced Life-Cycle Costs
Hess, David M.
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InnoSense LLC has developed a cryogenic insulation (CryoPoreTM) for use in NASA fuel storage applications. Our project entailed the incorporation of aerogel additives into polyurethane base foams. Aerogels offer much improved insulative properties that, in turn, reduce the boil off rate of expensive NASA fuels. The highly porous structure of aerogels results in significantly lower thermal conductivity. Therefore, incorporating a material of such low thermal conductivity into polyurethane foams will result in a volumetric reduction of thermal conductivity. To compensate for a variety of foaming variations due to additive incorporation, we integrated green blowing agents to improve foam expansion which ultimately led to improved aerogel distribution. The cure and rise time of the foam were modulated by these additives to generate low density foams with a fine cell structure. Such finer cell structures further improved the overall thermal and mechanical properties of the system. We have developed a pour system that can easily be integrated into a wide variety of insulation applications including fuel tanks and refrigeration. Here we present the ability to control cell size, and improved insulation properties through the addition of aerogel additives and additional blowing agents. Our CryoPoreTM insulation has been formulated for large-scale industrial spray and pour applications. This project was performed with support from the NASA SBIR program (Contract number NNX11CB53C).