Kennedy Space Center
- Monday, 01 August 2011
Material for Lifecycle Optimization
KSC has an important portfolio of novel and game-changing technologies to detect the location of wiring faults, and either manually or autonomously self-repair the damage. Detection occurs by Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) or other forms of reflectometry that will use new conductive detection layers in the new wire construction. Further, an integrated prognostic/diagnostic Smart Wire System plans to incorporate “self-healing” materials, negating the need to manually repair a wire if damage is within the size tolerance for self-healing capability. Wire damage detection and repair are major problems for NASA and are also found in many systems across many industries. Government, commercial, and private aircraft, battleships, automobiles, industrial processes, mining industry, power production facilities, and server farms all contain miles of crucial wiring infrastructure that could be impacted by the incorporation of this technology.
Furthermore, KSC has led research into “smart coating” systems that autonomously detect and inhibit corrosion of metal structures through the use of pH-sensitive microcapsules. Like pills that release their contents when exposed to stomach acid, microcapsules for smart coatings are designed to release their contents (corrosion inhibitors and/or indicators) in response to certain pH levels caused by corrosion.
Kennedy Space Center has over 20 laboratories and a dedicated KSC Chief Technologist, Karen Thompson, who is a polymer chemist and worked in industry before joining NASA in 1988. Karen sees her role as providing technology-focused leadership in an integrated and sustainable manner, and to communicate the relevance and value of KSC’s technology development activities. Karen, together with Dave Collins, KSC Deputy Chief Technologist, provides advocacy for KSC’s technology development capabilities and insight to ongoing technology projects.
For more information on the featured technologies, contact Jim Nichols, Licensing Manager, at 321-867-6384, or Jeff Kohler, Technology Manager, at 321-861-7158.