Obscurants are aerosolized clouds of particles that have been designed to block or pass specific wavelength regimes in the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum. NanoComposix has extensive experience manufacturing, processing, drying, and characterizing the physical, chemical, and optical properties of aerosolized nanomaterials. Obscurant formulations that have large extinction cross sections and spectrally selective characteristics have been fabricated and fielded. In addition, we have developed methods to efficiently lyophilize,nanoparticle suspensions, novel mixing methods to incorporate various flow agents into powders, and optimized aerosol dispersion mechanisms.
While many naturally occuring or manufactured aerosols can degrade visibility by scattering or absorbing light, nanoengineered particles are advantageous for obscurant applications due to the level of synthetic control available for tuning optical properties and dispersion. During fabrication, a number of parameters can be controlled, including
A significant challenge working with nano- and micron-scale materials is the ability to pack and then separate the particles to form an effective screening cloud. By modifying the surface of the nanoparticles to reduce the surface energy, using a controlled drying process that circumvents capillary wicking, and incorporating flow agents, the dispersion of the obscurant powders can be maximized.
To characterize obscurants and aerosols, nanoComposix has validated a 2.5 cubic meter aerosol test chamber with a unique set of characterization tools including spectrometers, nephelometers, high speed video cameras, and sizing equipment. The chamber has been used to perform environmental studies, to test novel obscurant formulations, to optimize aerosols for drug delivery, and to characterize a wide variety of solid and liquid particles.
Available characterization techniques include
For more information, please contact John Holecek.