Student: Samantha Kruse, graduate student in Chemistry, University of Iowa
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Tori Z. Forbes
Exploring the Effects of Gamma Radiation on Organic Materials for Radiation Shielding
My research focuses on the development of safe and sustainable radiation-resist materials for space technology. Currently, NASA uses an organic material known as polyethylene as radiation shielding on-board the International Space Station. This work will expand on other organic materials which would be highly competitive radiation shielding materials in space. Aromatic-containing materials increase the structural stability compared to the already employed organic-based materials for radiation shielding. This work aims to engineer radiation resistant organic materials that can be used as coatings on space technology to prevent system malfunctions and degradation due to prolonged high ionizing radiation exposure by changing bonding networks within naphthalene-containing cocrystalline materials.
These cocrystalline materials have been reported to be tunable in their physical and chemical properties, providing us the capabilities to modify these materials for specific purposes such as increased structural stability and radiation resistance. Currently, I am comparing how changing the amount of aromaticity within naphthalene-based materials impacts the structural integrity of these materials when exposed to gamma radiation. Overall, these results will provide fundamental insights into rationally designing safe and sustainable radiation shielding materials for space technology coatings in the future.