NASA’s polyimide aerogel technology, used in spacesuit gloves, has been licensed by the Glenn Research Center for commercial use to FLEXcon, an adhesive coating and laminating company.
The polyimide aerogel is used to keep environments warm or cold using a very thin layer of material. It was used by Final Frontier designs as part of their NASA Small Business Innovation Research contract to develop High-Pressure Extravehicular Activity Gloves suitable for long duration outer space missions, and is also used in consumer applications such as winter and sport clothing.
FLEXcon and its affiliate Blueshift International Materials, Inc. will be responsible for the manufacturing and marketing of the patent pending polyimide aerogels for various aerospace applications, including insulation for cryotanks and spacesuits, as well as construction, refrigeration, and pipe insulation on Earth.
NASA Glenn licenses various technologies to commercial vendors through its Technology Transfer Office.
Polyimide aerogels provide an alternative to traditional silica-based aerogels, which are prone to breaking down during handling and shed small dust particles. Polyimide aerogels are 500 times stronger with equivalent insulation ability, and don’t shed particles.
“We are delighted to secure a licensing agreement for Glenn’s technology,” said Center Director Jim Free. “We have hundreds of technologies available for licensing at Glenn, and it is extremely gratifying when the private sector adapts NASA innovations so they can make an impact in the marketplace. By licensing the polyimide aerogel technology to FLEXcon, Glenn will gain a commercialization partner.”
“At FLEXcon, we are excited about the business opportunities the polyimide aerogel technology affords us,” said Neil McDonough, president and CEO, FLEXcon. “As a supporter of U.S. manufacturing and innovation, FLEXcon is excited to be a manufacturing partner that can help NASA develop its ideas into commercial reality.”
FLEXcon is based in Massachusetts.
Filed Under: Materials • advanced