A unique binder was developed that exhibits a glass transition temperature of –100 °C, which is more than 50 °C lower than that of traditional HTPB (hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene) and CTPB (carboxyl-terminated polybutadiene) binders. This innovation would be a solid propellant that would ameliorate low-temperature operability problems for the two-stage Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV).

A unique feature of this material is its ability to retain a rubber-like consistency at the extreme temperatures encountered on the surface of Mars. A dynamic mechanical analyzer (DMA), with liquid nitrogen cooling, was used to measure directly the glass transition temperature of the cured polymer.

This work was done by William Stevenson and Joseph Sims of Arctic Slope Technical Services for Marshall Space Flight Center. NASA is seeking partners to further develop this technology through joint cooperative research and development. For more information about this technology and to explore opportunities, please contact Ronald C. Darty at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. MFS-33263-2/7-1/8-1


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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