NASA Tech Needs

Rocket Engine Altitude Simulation Technologies

John C. Stennis Space Center is embarking on a very ambitious era in its rocket engine propulsion test history. The first new large rocket engine test stand to be built at Stennis Space Center in over 40 years is under construction. The new A3 Test Stand is designed to test very large (294,000 lbf thrust) cryogenic propellant rocket engines at a simulated altitude of 100,000 feet.

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Anchoring Technology to Hold an Active Ingredient Within a Targeted Depth of Soil

A company seeks technologies that enhance the duration that herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and similar products are held at a targeted depth within the top layers of soil. Duration should be between 30 and 60 days. The targeted depth varies with the crop plant, soil type, and pesticide, but is usually between the surface and 3-4" deep. The technology should not be persistent and should not affect the following crop. It must degrade chemically or biologically in the soil.

Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200908c.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Dissolvable Paper/Packaging Material

A company is searching for a disruptive technology relating to dispersible packaging materials. The material should easily dissolve in cold water and be 100% biodegradable in a short space of time, without compromising the strength and performance of the material for its given application. While paper-based products are expected as potential solutions, the material could also be polymer-based, a film, or bio-based. It should be manufactured from sustainable raw materials and have low toxicity for both final product and processing aids.

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One-Megapixel Infrared Light Detector

A company seeks a detector array for the infrared region to detect two-dimensional radiation patterns. The sensor should have 1000 x 1000 pixels (or at least 512 × 640 pixels), which are individually addressable. The detector array is comparable to a high-speed CCD chip, but must have high sensitivity in the infrared around 1,300 nm.

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Non-Fluoro-Based Textile Repellency Treatment

A company seeks a ready-to-use, non - fluorochemical - based repellent solution for oil- and water-borne stains for application on textiles. The textiles may be cotton, wool, or synthetic, or a blend of natural and synthetic fibers. This material may be fully formulated or partially formulated in a solventfree delivery solution.

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Power Beaming for Small Robots and Remote Instruments

The NASA Ames Intelligent Robo - tics Group (IRG) is dedicated to enabling humans and robots to explore and learn about extreme environments, remote locations, and uncharted worlds. The IRG conducts applied research in a wide range of areas, with an emphasis on robotics systems science and field testing.

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Lightning Strike Protection for Composite Aircraft

NASA’s work in advanced aeronautics includes growing interest in environmentally responsive aircraft, one component of which involves use of composites to significantly reduce weight and, hence, fuel consumption. The new Boeing 787 aircraft is one recent example, and there has been a strong move toward composites in new general aviation and business jet aircraft. One disadvantage of this new direction is that the aircraft are far more vulnerable to lightning strikes. The energy deposited in a typical lightning strike involves tens of KV and 10,000-200,000 amperes, occurring in a fraction of a second. Without some type of shielding, or conductive path, the electrically insulated carbon fiber/ epoxy composites can be damaged, particularly at the entry and exit points for the strike. The aircraft instrumentation can also be damaged in such an event and extra shielding is often necessary for composite aircraft.

What are the Challenges? Improved means are needed to identify when a plane is in fact struck by lightning, and both onboard and ground-based NDE methods are needed to assess the level of damage that occurred. Perhaps more importantly, means to eliminate or mitigate damage must be engineered in a cost-effective manner, ideally as a single “outer” shield that will protect the aircraft from both structural damage as well as shield instruments without additional internal hardware requirements.

What is NASA Doing? Lightning damage detection/diagnosis technologies do not exist today for our modern fleet of aircraft, so one element of NASA’s program is to explore how this can be best accomplished both during flight and after the fact. Onboard current sensors will be used to measure the intensity and location of the lightning current during a strike. Simulations of lightning-arc events in the laboratory (see photo) with various test panels will provide baseline data for model development. The voltage/current measurements from such tests will be correlated against statistical data sets to estimate the level of damage expected on the composite and eventually to evaluate the safety risks associated with continuing the flight profile after a lightning strike has occurred.

Since the aircraft fuselage and wing structure can be very complex, it will be important to develop physics-based models of the lightning strike event. This code would allow designers to consider different material solutions for test and evaluation and eventually should allow good correlation between the model and observed lightning strike effects in the field.

What Applications Does NASA Envision? NASA intends this information and model to be made available to composite aircraft developers as a tool in their design efforts. Similar issues are faced in the wind turbine industry where the blades can be composites. There may also be applications in the electric power industry related to arc events in very high-voltage environments.

What are NASA’s Needs? NASA is interested in collaborating with industry or university groups in several areas.

On-board sensors for measurement of lightning strike intensity, location, and current flow during the event.Conductive paint technology or other “coating” concepts for composites to facilitate current flow, hence mitigate or eliminate structural damage, and/or remove any need for additional internal shielding of electronics.Physics-based models of complex composite structures/actual aircraft that can be adapted to include model lightning strike events to quantify electrical, mechanical, and thermal parameters to indicate damage. More Information For more information, contact Mr. George Szatkowski at 757-864-6194 or email nasa@techbriefs.com.
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Moisture Release Technologies

A company seeks technologies enabling a woven or nonwoven substrate to contain liquid/fluid that can be released by applying pressure (to yield a moist/wet substrate). They are interested in solutions that will enable water or other liquids/ fluids to be contained within a substrate and then released under moderate pressure (for example, by squeezing the substrate in your hand). The technology solution must be able to incorporate sufficient liquid content in the substrate so that when pressure is applied, approximately 75% of that substrate unit becomes moist.

Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200906c.htmlEmail: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Binder Solutions for the Manufacture of Molds and, Cores in Metal Castings

Binders used for molding are typically self-setting, so that after mixing two or more binder components into sand, there is a short delay before the mixture starts to set hard. Binders used for core-making are typically gas-cured. A company seeks an environmentally acceptable binder system that could be based on inorganic, “clean” organic, or hybrid derivatives, and offers an immediate advantage over current systems in terms of health, safety, and environmental issues.

Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200906d.htmlEmail: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Gaseous Helium (GHe) Conservation and Recovery

John C. Stennis Space Center provides rocket engine propulsion testing for the NASA space programs. Since the development of the Space Shuttle, every Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) has gone through acceptance testing before going to Kennedy Space Center for integration into the Space Shuttle. The SSME is a large cryogenic rocket engine that used Liquid Oxygen (LO2) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) as propellants. Due to the extremely cold cryogenic conditions of this environment, an inert gas, helium, is used as a purge for the engine since it can be used without freezing in the cryogenic environment.

As NASA moves to the development of the new ARES launch system, the main engines as well as the upper stage engine will use cryogenic propellants, and will require gaseous helium during the development testing of each of these engines. The main engine for the ARES will be similar in size to the SSME.

Technology Needs

Due to the size of the SSME and the test facilities required to test the engine, extremely large quantities of helium are used during testing each year. This requirement makes Stennis one of the world’s largest users of gaseous helium, which is a non-renewable natural resource. Cost of helium is increasing as the supply diminishes. The cost and shortage of helium are beginning to impact testing of the rocket engines for the space propulsion systems.

Innovative solutions are needed for efficient, cost-effective, in-situ methods to recapture helium used during the engine purging and testing processes, to re-clean the captured helium, to re-pressurize it, and then to reintroduce it for reuse. Research into technologies in these areas, demonstration of the technology capability, and conceptual design for the technology installation at Stennis are desired to assist in the helium reuse.

Technology Challenges

Helium used in rocket engine purge must meet very specific cleanliness standards. One of the challenges will be to develop an in-situ, on-site helium re-utilization system capable of recycling the helium to cleanliness standards requirements. The technologies developed to recapture and clean the helium must be cost-effective and able to perform the recycling process in an in-situ rocket engine test area environment. Such technologies will be required to comply with all safety and quality standards required in this environment.

More Information

For additional information, contact John Lansaw at Stennis Space Center, 228-688-1962, or visit nasa@techbriefs.com.

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