Justin Selected with NASA NIFS Opportunity for Mars Mission

Justin started his research work in the Smart Ceramic Materials Manufacturing lab (SCM2) in 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Cheryl Xu. During the time when collaborating with NASA LaRC in summer 2017, he was able to create the first batch of the composite samples with his group colleagues. This is a new manufacturing process to make advanced ceramic composite using boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) as the reinforcement.  The new process allows for up to 25% weight percentage of BNNT in the composite. In contrast, only 0.5% weight percentage of BNNT were reinforced into ceramic composites from literature. The high percentage of BNNT reinforcement allows material’s flexibility and high thermal stability. If successful, the composite will have excellent toughness with minimum defect. Such a flexible and conformal ceramic composite can be used for inflatable space structures such as a deployable habitat and can withstand extreme temperatures without sacrificing its mechanical properties.

Justin will return to NASA LaRC in spring 2018 to continue working on to further optimize the material fabrication process.  After Justin’s academic studies, he plans to work for a prestigious organization, such as NASA, and continue to apply his knowledge in order to make more significant discoveries that will benefit mankind.

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Justin was recognized with the Exceptional Contribution Award at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC). (from Left to Right: Dr. Cheol Park at NASA LaRC; Justin Morales; Dr. Cheryl Xu)