Materials and Coatings
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High Atomic Number Coatings for Fabrics
High atomic number materials, such as tantalum, do not bond well to oxygen- and hydroxyl-rich surfaces, such as glass fibers. These metals often form surface oxides when layered on glass fabric, resulting in flaking of the high atomic number material off the fabric during cutting, folding, and/or handling. To improve coating durability, this invention applies a lower atomic number metal as a tie down layer first before applying the high atomic number metal layer. The tie down layer reduces oxide formation between the substrate and the high atomic number material, promoting adhesion. Titanium has shown strong adhesion with different metals and is effective at reducing oxide formation when diffusion bonded to itself or other materials. It has been shown to be effective at improving durability when thermally sprayed onto a glass fiber fabric as a tie down layer for a subsequent tantalum layer (also applied via RF plasma spray). The titanium layer is only approximately 1 mil thick but results in strong adhesion of the tantalum layer by inter-metallic or diffusion bonding. A thermal spray process may be used, as well. This innovation enables the delivery of high atomic metal coating on glass fiber fabrics and other polymeric substrates that are lower cost, lighter weight, and durable to form a flexible cloth material with Z-graded radiation shielding. Coated samples have been produced and the technology is currently at a technology readiness level (TRL) of 4 (prototype).
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