Skin Suit

In the future, we will wear a basic clothing under suit that could be considered as super skin. It will be made from a variety of layers of composite materials:

  • Nanofoams – hybrids of ceramic, metal, and polymer nanofoams will offer layers of light insulation, armor, and conduction of both liquids and electric current in different channels
  • Nanofabrics – textiles woven from nanofibers and treated with smart colloids will form cloth-like layers that add elasticity, strength, the ability to handle moisture, bacterial resistance, as well as containing built-in electronic components.

The skin suit will provide impact protection and will help control moisture and preserve water. For survival in space, it will add some protection against radiation, loss of pressure and oxygen containment. Multiple layers of very thin custom designed materials will provide a variety of interactions between layers and electronic controls. The built-in smart components will include sensors, communications, and control over functions.

The suit will be designed in modular pieces that fit together at seams and join to make a smooth finish. Helmet, gloves, arms, legs and boots will join a torso and will have the ability to deploy from a rolled up form to a spread out form. Combining this feature with a light weight modular exo-skeleton will allow either the entire skin suit or specific layers to be stored in the exo-skeleton or deployed across the body.

Most versions of the suit will have some ability to self-repair and supply power, and some advanced versions will have the ability to produce and replace essentials like oxygen and water.

Cosmetic outer layers of fabric and other materials can be added according to current social convention.

Multifunctional Carbon Nanotube Composites – [ornl.gov]

Carbon nanotubes can lend new functionality to polymer, metal, or carbon matrices – enhancing their strength and also their thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have huge tensile strengths (Young’s modulus over 1 TPa, considered one of the strongest materials known to man). They are also excellent thermal conductors and electrical conductors, and have been developed as single-electron transistors, actuators, sensors, memory elements, and recently electroluminescent emitters. Due to small production quantities in the past, research to date has concentrated on small-volume applications (electronics, sensors, etc.). However with large-scale SWNT synthesis under development worldwide, the science of forming strong, lightweight composites which retain the desirable properties of SWNTs is underway. Nanotube-based composites have the potential to revolutionize structural materials for aerospace, electrical and thermal conductors for energy applications, nano-biotechnology, and other disciplines. Through an internally-sponsored ORNL project, and with NASA and DARPA support, we are exploring the synthesis of polymer nanocomposites, metal-matrix nanocomposites, and carbon-carbon composites using loose SWNTs and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs).

Metal Aerogels – [aerogel.org]

What’s the Big Deal About Metal Aerogels?

Metal aerogels are potentially invaluable materials because they combine the unique properties of metals with the unique properties of aerogels. First, they would exhibit high specific surface areas (100-500 m2 g-1) and would be electrically conductive. This combination would make them valuable for applications where high-surface-area electrodes are needed, such as supercapacitors (sometimes called ultracapacitors), fuel cells, batteries, and water desalination. Secondly, nanosized particles of metals have been shown to exhibit enhanced catalytic activity overt bulk forms of the same metal. Gold, in fact, is very uncatalytic in the bulk, while gold nanoparticles very efficiently catalyze all sorts of nifty reactions, including room-temperature oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and carbon nanotube growth. Since metal aerogels would be composed of a three-dimensional network of nanosized metal particles, metal aerogels would thus be useful for making efficient, lightweight catalytic converters and useful in serving as catalytic substrates for other chemical reactions. Moreover, this means that metals like Fe or Ni could one day replace Pd, Rh, and Pt in catalytic converters, which are expensive and in diminishing supply.

SEE ALSO:
New Skin
Drexler Spacesuit
Skintronics
TF Skin
Cradle

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