A document discusses self-deployable, rigidized structures that are ultra-lightweight and have gas barrier properties, space durability, and high impact resistance. Developed here are microcellular-foamed sandwich structures made from nanocomposite shape memory polymers (SMPs) with Cold-Hibernated Elastic Memory (CHEM) deployed technique for space structural components including space habitats. This type of foam sandwich also does not suffer from the toxicity problems of conventional foams, and has higher mechanical properties than those processed with conventional techniques. This design can be compacted into a very small volume for launch. Once deployed, the microcellular structure can use the heat from the Sun to recover 98 to 100 percent of its shape.

This work was done by Seng C. Tan of Wright Materials Research Corp. for Johnson Space Center.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to:

Wright Materials Research Co.

1187 Richfield Center

Beavercreek, OH 45430

Phone No.: (937) 431-8811

Fax: (937) 431-4746

Refer to MSC-24290-1, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.