Team to prepare power-generating material for space flight, security

Team to prepare power-generating material for space flight, security

Calendar Icon Sep 08, 2014          RSS Feed RSS

Space suit from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Space suit from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
A UNL physics and astronomy team that includes Mohr Professor of Electrical Engineering Ned Ianno has won a two-year NASA grant to further research that could someday revolutionize border and international security practices.

The team, led by Axel Enders, associate professor of physics and astronomy, will prep a material for testing on the International Space Station. The material will enable generation of electric power using neutrons for future deep space flights. The material, boron carbide, also has been shown to be a good detector of radioactive material.

Enders and his team have been working the past year on fine-tuning the boron carbide and engineering it to be a better semi-conductor, in order for it to be used as an energy device in deep space. The boron carbide is able to produce electricity by absorbing neutrons from radioactive material as it decays.

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