BII-NACO - Bio-inspired Ultra Lightweight Nanocomposite Materials for Application to Large and Gossamer Structures in Space

The main objective of BII-NACO was the development of lightweight bio-inspired nanocomposite materials with advanced nanostructural features and their evaluation for space applications. The aim was to test such "second generation nanocomposites" for their potential to achieve desired mechanical properties simultaneously (e.g. strength and elasticity) and to use nano-scale matrix modification to solve existing issues in composites for space applications, such as matrix-fibre delamination.

Short Description

Special emphasis was put on binary and ternary systems combining different nanofillers forming dedicated substructures in the host matrix. It had been observed previously that introduction of more than one nano-species may lead to synergistic effects, i.e. more than additive improvement of material properties. Moreover, spatial arrangement and orientation of nano-species are known to be crucial factors in determining overall material properties, but are typically poorly controlled.

In biology, by contrast, strong and lightweight materials generally exhibit exquisite structural control on the nanometre scale. Some of them still surpass the mechanical performance of technical materials weight by weight. Therefore, bio-inspired construction principles were extracted by review and used for the modification of existing materials based on space relevant polymer matrix systems. Technical approaches included the combination and chemical modification of nano-species and measures of structural control.

The project consortium combined interdisciplinary expertise in space technology, physics, chemistry, materials science and biology to develop such novel materials for large and gossamer structures.

Project Partners


University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Institute of Physics and Materials Science - Helga Lichtenegger


  • Medical University of Vienna, Decentralized Biomedical Facilities - Ursula Windberger
  • Aerospace & Advanced Composites GmbH - Josef Wendrinsky
  • Space Technology Consultancy Vienna - Hans Georg Wulz

Contact Address

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences
Institute of Physics and Materials Science
Helga Lichtenegger
Peter-Jordan-Straße 82
A-1190 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 47654 - 5152