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NEI Introduces Coating Formulation Featuring Nanoscale Additives

Somerset, N.J.-based NEI Corp. -- a developer, manufacturer and distributor of nanoscale materials for a wide range of industries -- has developed a silicone-based fabric coating featuring nanoscale additives. The coating was applied using traditional processing techniques to fabrics including woven fiberglass and Vectran® fiber fabrics, and NEI reports the resulting high-performance fabrics exhibit enhanced thermal and barrier properties, as well as improved mechanical properties such as peel and tear strength when compared to fabrics treated with a traditional coating formulations. Developed through a National Aeronautics and Space Administration Small Business Innovation Research program, the coatings were then tested through a collaboration between NEI and Frederica, Del.-based ILC Dover, a developer of engineered softgoods products for defense, aerospace and commercial applications. The pilot program was scaled up, and prototype airbags were created. According to leakage tests performed by ILC Dover, the 18-inch spherical airbags exhibited greater gas retention capabilities when compared to a control group of standard airbags.

According to NEI, applications including safety inflatables such as airbags, hot-air balloons, cold-air inflatables, boat sails, paragliders and parachutes all can benefit from the enhanced durability, lower weight and reduced gas permeability properties conferred to the fabric by the nanotechnology-enabled silicone coating.

"The success of this project can be traced to our core competency in synthesizing and functionalizing nanoscale materials targeted at specific applications," said Kenneth Eberts, Senior Product Development Engineer, NEI Corp.

December 1, 2009