Basalt fiber reinforced composite developed for equipment protection from corona discharges

Basalt fiber reinforced polyimide composite took part in the Create the Future Design Contest organized by the publishers of NASA Tech Briefs magazine.

Carrying out expert evaluations and updating business plans and feasibility studies of investment projects for the production of continuous basalt fiber, staple fiber and basalt composite products.

The full title of the project presented by Ted Ground from Rising star, Tx (US) is – Basalt Fiber-Polyimide and Related Polymer Composites for Durable Protective Film Coatings to Protect Electrical and Electronic Equipment Exposed to Corona Discharges.

Ted Ground proposed the corona-resistant composite material capable of forming a coating or film over the electrical and electronic components and related equipment to be protected, having a thickness no greater than 50 microns (about 2 mils).

The protective coating based on basalt fiber can withstand at least 20,000 hours of corona discharges, remaining flexible and functional in a wide temperature range, from -100°C to 250°C.

High energy impacts of coronal discharges are characterized by accelerated electrons, charged molecules, atoms, and radicals which cause high-velocity physical impacts on the material, acting like lightning bolts, causing holes through films or coatings of polymer materials. Also, these events can emit UV radiation which will deteriorate polymers.

The proposed basalt fiber reinforced polyimide composite has high dielectric strengths, states the scientist. The higher the dielectric strength of a material is, the better its quality as an insulator.

Basalt fiber is the best reinforcement for this composite, emphasizes Ted Ground, because of its radiation, chemical, temperature, and mechanical properties, high dielectric strength and volume resistivity (200 kV/mm; 4 x 1012 Ω/m), and inexpensive cost. Basalt fiber is incorporated up to 70% by weight of the proposed composite.

Polyimide is the preferred polymer matrix for the fiber-reinforced composite because of its radiation and chemical resistance, wide functional temperature range, excellent mechanical properties and high dielectric strength.

Due to basalt fiber and polyimide, the proposed composite material is resistant to high energy and physical impact of particles, electromagnetic (UV) radiation and the related aggressive chemical interactions that further deteriorate some materials.

It is not the first time when Ted Ground has participated in NASA contests. In 2014, he was awarded $20 thousand for his idea submitted to NASA’s Mars Balance Mass Challenge, where the novelty and elegance of his proposal were marked.

Currently, the readers can vote on the site of the Create the Future Design Contest, but it is not they who will name the winner: it is a professional jury that will announce the results in September 2017.

Companies: Mechanical Properties, NASA

Industries: Energy

Terms: Composite materials

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