Cedarville firm wins NASA ‘nanotubes’ contract

A Cedarville science company has landed a NASA contract to perfect new materials for hypersonic craft.

Cedarville’s Applied Sciences Inc. has been selected by NASA to study a concept which uses carbon nanotubes to alter the crystal structure of ceramic materials.

A release from the company did not give a value for the contract. NASA spokeswoman Sarah Frazier said contract negotiations are not complete, but the maximum value for 2022 Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) awards is $150,000.

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The SBIR program has proved lucrative for several Miami Valley companies. Patrick Lake, Applied Science vice president, praised the program in a release Wednesday.

“Without that program, the U.S. would probably not enjoy the technological position that it has, and some people may be surprised how much materials and technology development occurs in the Miami Valley,” Lake said.

The goal of the contract is to create ceramics with microstructures initiated by nanotubes, the company said.

“We realized that although nanotubes are thought of as structural reinforcement — like microscopic rebar —they also have the ability to cause crystals to form differently than they normally do,” said Elliot Kennel, principal investigator and inventor in the project.

The idea is to help NASA develop special materials for hypersonic spacecraft, Kennel said.

“These advanced materials will enable greater durability and survivability even in extreme environments, whether on this planet or other worlds we will explore in the future,” the company said.

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