Nanomaterials Laboratory

The Nanomaterials Laboratory at the National Institute of Aerospace is a research facility for designing and producing multifunctional nanomaterials to meet specific requirements for applications in the aerospace industry and beyond. Current activities include boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) synthesis and functional nanomaterials processing. BNNTs are emerging and innovative low-density nanostructures with many extraordinary mechanical, thermal, chemical, and radiation shielding properties. Recent breakthroughs in the synthesis of high quality BNNTs (Figure 1) led by researchers from NIA, NASA, and the Jefferson National Laboratory have the potential to provide unprecedented opportunities in BNNT research and applications [1,2]. The NIA BNNT lab is dedicated to study the fundamental science behind the growth mechanism of BNNT synthesis at early stages using a conventional laser system (Figure 2) in collaboration with NASA Langley Research Center. A scientific high-pressure BNNT synthesis chamber has been designed for this purpose, with multiple optical windows for in-situ spectroscopy studies during synthesis, including CARS (Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy), LIF (Laser Induced Fluorescence), Raman, Rayleigh/Mie scattering, and Emission spectroscopy. In parallel, computational studies and comprehensive ex-situ analyses will provide additional guidance to understand growth mechanism and identify optimum synthesis parameters.

Nanomaterials processing lab is equipped with six fume hoods and various processing instruments including simultaneous high shear/sonication system, freeze dry unit (Labconco Corp), small-scale mixer (MMD System 3000, Loctite Henkel Corp), capillary rheometer (RH J2000, Bohlin Instrument), and fiber spinning system (wet/melt extruder, Bradford University Research Lab). Dielectric analyzer (DEA230/2, Netzsch), impedance analyzer (Agilent 4192A), and thermogravimetric analyzer (Perkin Elmer Pyris Diamond TG/DTA) are also available in the lab as analytic tools. The main goal is to develop novel materials with functions tailored for specific applications in many aerospace missions.

Director: Dr. Sang-Hyon Chu

Contact:  (757)864-8215 or (757)864-4291 |