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Integrated Multilayer Insulation: Advanced Thermal Insulation
Cryogenic propellants are an important part of NASA’s next generation Exploration vehicles. Cryogenic propellants, at temperatures as low as −423°F/−253°C, must be stored in insulated tanks or dewars. Conventional Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) is used to insulate cryogenic tanks, and is the best insulator known in vacuum, but improvements are needed. Quest Product Development, teaming with Ball Aerospace, is developing an innovative ultra-high performance thermal insulation system called Integrated MLI (IMLI).
NASA has awarded Quest an SBIR Phase I and Phase II contract to develop this new insulation.
Fiberglass batt insulation has an insulation R-value per inch of 4 , IMLI is expected to have an R-value per inch of 3100. IMLI second generation prototypes are in fabrication. IMLI is being designed in two versions; one a light-weight thermal insulation engineered for aerospace applications, and a load bearing version for terrestrial applications that operates in atmospheric pressure.