Cheol Park*1, Samuel Hocker1, Sang-Hyon Chu2, Vesselin Yamakov2, and Catharine Fay1


1Advanced Materials and Processing Branch, NASA Langley Research Institute
National Institute of Aerospace
Hampton, VA, USA


Multifunctional materials can enable revolutionary design schemes for future aerospace vehicles and structures for NASA missions. Recent studies of nanocomposite materials have shown the potential for both structural integrity and multifunctional capabilities; such as sensing, actuating, health monitoring, radiation shielding, energy harvesting, thermal management, and thermal protection. After the advent of carbon nanotube (CNT) in 1991, scientists predicted that boron and nitrogen, carbon’s immediate neighbors on the periodic chart, might also form perfect nanotubes. Even first proposed in 1994 and synthesized in 1995, the boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) has proven very difficult to make until now. The discovery and progress of a new catalyst-free method for synthesizing highly crystalline, very long, and small diameter BNNTs under a high temperature and pressure (HTP) environment have enabled new applications for multifunctional materials. The white BNNTs offer extraordinary properties including neutron radiation shielding, piezoelectricity, thermal oxidative stability (>800˚C in air), and mechanical strength and toughness. The characteristics of the novel BNNTs and their composites are discussed in this presentation along with their potential aerospace applications.


Biographic Details

Cheol Park

Title: Senior Researcher

Affiliation, Country: NASA Langley Research Center, USA

Phone: +757-864-8360 Fax: +757-864-4332 E-mail:

Research interests: carbon nanotubes, boron nitride nanotubes, nanocomposites, dispersion, smart materials, radiation shielding materials