Radiation Shielding Boron Nitride Nanotube (BNNT) Reinforced Metal Matrix Composites

C. Chidiac, T. Dolmetsch
Thaero LLC,
United States

Keywords: BNNT, Al7075, radiation shielding, thermal management, nanocomposite, additive manufacturing, direct energy deposition, cold spray


Thaero is a US-owned and operated start-up commercializing multi-functional nanomaterials for the aerospace, defense and nuclear sectors. Utilizing scalable supersonic cold spray and solid-state metal 3D printing techniques, Thaero develops innovative, high-temperature nanomaterial-infused alloys crucial to next gen mission-critical components including lightweight structural alloys, terrestrial and hypersonic vehicles, lunar and Martian landers, lightweight ballistic materials, high-temperature alloy structures, high thermal conduction aviation components, and radiation-hardened alloys. Our newest patented technology, exclusively licensed from FIU, introduces Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNTs), the world's lightest and strongest fiber, into lightweight alloys via 3D printing.A recent FIU-NASA study showed that by adding 1% by weight BNNT into Ti, the metal matrix composite (MMC) exhibited an exponential increase in neutron shielding and tensile strength while boosting thermal conductivity. When BNNT was added to Al7075, the strongest aluminum known was created resulting in a multifunctional, super metal matrix nanocomposite. BNNT MMCs have demonstrated exceptional properties include neutron radiation shielding, heightened mechanical strength, enhanced ductility, improved wear resistance, superior thermal conductivity, and electrical insulation. Remarkably, these properties remain intact even under extreme conditions, with thermal stability maintained above 900 ° C in air and 2200 °C in inert environments. Future threats require better advanced materials. Thaero is pioneering the development of multi-functional metal matrix composites (MMCs) to address these anticipated challenges.