A versatile, novel, multifunctional hybrid structural composite of a high-hydrogen epoxy matrix (UN-10) coupled with boron and carbon fibers (IM-7) has been developed. Prototype laminates of 18×18 in. (≈46×46 cm), with the nominal areal density of 0.35 g/cm2, were fabricated in this effort. The hydrogen atoms in the epoxy will provide shielding strength against high-energy protons, electrons, and heavy ionic species, while the boron fibers that have a high neutron cross-section will help shield against neutrons and reduce the buildup of high-energy photons from secondary reactions. The carbon fibers will provide improved mechanical strength.
The epoxy resins are easy to scale up for large applications. They will not require difficult monomer synthesis. Only commercially available chemicals with TOSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) and CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) numbers were used. The composite fabrication is straightforward and easy. These novel hybrid boron/carbon fiber composites can be fabricated by nonautoclave processing. Also, the fabrication technology is easy to quality control and transfer to commercial manufacturers.