DLSU Developing Spacesuit Made With Abaca Fiber
De La Salle University (DLSU) is on a roll with research. Fresh from being awarded a P13 million prize by from the Newton Fund for its research on turning toilet sludge into plant food, DLSU scientists are now embarking on a P15-million research that aims to make spacesuits with Philippine abaca.
DLSU’s very own research facility called I-Nano Solutions has been granted a P15-million funding from the Department of Science and Technology to explore the applications of abaca fabric for spacesuits.
“Since 1960s, when extra vehicular activity (EVA) has been introduced, there is a higher demand for more protective and mobile spacesuits for space explorers,” said Dr. Gil Nonato Santos, vice chancellor of the DLSU Laguna Campus and head of the I-Nano team, as reported by DLSU’s official blog site.
“Exposure to harmful electromagnetic waves and extreme temperature condition in the outer space are the most life-threatening factors to consider in designing spacesuits,” he adds.
The research project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and a collaboration with the Technological University of the Philippines, FEATI University, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, and the Philippine Textile Research Institute.
The project aims to produce a superior but more affordable thermo mechanical garment (TMG) for astronauts. The TMG is the outermost layer worn by astronauts. It protects the body from radiation, electromagnetic waves, and extreme temperature changes.
According to DLSU, the research project will create a layered structure of abaca fibers coated with nanocomposite material that will act as shield from radiation and act as insulator.