Development of Advanced Nonwoven Composite Fabric using STF-Armor™ for Lunar Dust Mitigation



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2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems


Mitigation of lunar dust regolith remains one of the most pressing issues in space suit development when it comes to surface exploration. Fabrics treated with shear thickening fluid (STF) and super hydrophobic coating have been shown in previous studies to significantly reduce dust adhesion to the Orthofabric surface. The Orthofabric weave construction is such that there is significant void space that can allow dust penetration, even after treatments. Here, we will present the ongoing development of a hybrid textile material that leverages the dust mitigation properties of the STF and superhydrophobic treated fabrics with dust penetration resistant properties of nonwoven. Nonwoven fabrics made of materials capable of surviving the harsh temperatures of the lunar surface are commonly used in filtration settings and could be beneficial to dust mitigation on the Lunar and Martian surface. A hybrid structure where a high strength, temperature stable fiber was needle punched onto the back side of a woven fabric was investigated. The materials were evaluated on their mechanical properties, including puncture and abrasion resistance, and their dust mitigation properties. The final structure had a P84® polyimide fiber needle punched onto the back face of a modified version of Orthofabric, which produced a material that was able to stop dust penetration. Treating this material with STF and adding a superhydrophobic coating reduced the dust adhesion by over half. The material remained flexible enough to easily drape and can be easily sewn for manufacturing a final part. This hybrid nonwoven fabric showed both the ability to both stop penetrating dust while decreasing the dust adhered to the surface and being easily cleanable.


Erik Hobbs, STF Technologies, USA
Richard Dombrowski, STF Technologies, USA
Norman Wagner, University of Delaware, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, USA
Huantian Cao, University of Delaware, Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, USA
Michelle Yatvitskiy, University of Delaware, Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies, USA
ICES400: Extravehicular Activity: Space Suits
The 53rd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, on 21 July 2024 through 25 July 2024.


Space Suit, Shear thickening fluid, Nonwoven, Surface Exploration, Dust Mitigation