Scientists at Kennedy Space Center have developed a multifunctional composite laminate material for structural and thermal applications for use in residential and commercial construction. The innovation is a lightweight aerogel-fiber laminate composite system that has good compressive strength, tailorable impact and acoustic energy absorption, reduced heat transfer (compared to a fiber-only system), and fire barrier properties.
Building on previous thermal materials development, NASA began working on new multifunctional fiber composite materials that can meet both structural and thermal requirements with increased impact resistance. One use for such materials would be as building material for residential and commercial construction. The aerogel-infused fiber-composite laminate system was developed in the Polymer, Cryogenics, and Prototype laboratories at Kennedy Space Center.
The novel laminate composite and its construction can utilize a wide range of epoxy resins. The panel laminate system can be tailored by varying fiber choice (e.g., polyester, carbon, etc.), aerogel panel type and thickness, and overall layup configuration. The combination of materials may be customized to achieve a range of desired properties in the resulting laminate system.
NASA's structural composite panel material may find use in applications where lightweight, high-strength laminates with multifunctional properties — such as thermal insulation, impact resistance, mechanical energy absorption, and/or acoustic energy dampening — are desired. Customers may include the building materials, automotive, boating, and sporting equipment industries.