NASA Tech Needs

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.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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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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High-Temperature Brine Viscosifier

A company seeks to increase the viscosity of brine solutions containing both mono and multivalent salts. Targeted brines may contain up to 80% weight of salt. Viscosity must stay the same up to 150°C. The thickened brine should have a yield value of the order of 1Pa (or higher) and a shear thinning behavior. The overall rheology profile should be comparable to xanthan gum solution in fresh water. The aim of the viscosity increase is to suspend solid particles. Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200905d.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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3D and/or Flock Printing Technology

A company seeks a printing capability and/or technology that creates a physical 3D texture that is tactile and soft (but not rubbery) in nature onto a flat or curved plastic surface made of polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyester material. This 3D printing enhances the product experience for the consumer by providing a more tactile surface that can increase grip, provide a pleasant texture/feeling, and/or present a less plain/sterile surface. Materials should be FDA food-safe, as well as safe when in contact with skin. Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200905c.html Email: 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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Manufacturing Method for Joining Elastic Materials

A company seeks methods of joining identical elastic materials. The current method is to use adhesives to bond the elastic components physically, but adhesives lack the strength of a chemical bond or weld. A method of joining or bonding natural or synthetic rubber in a way that can withstand a 25- pound tensile load is desirable. The bonded joint must retain the same cross-sectional area as the two components prior to joining. The bond joining the faces must be unaffected by moisture, temperature, and chemicals, and it must be able to withstand 500 cycles at 300% elongation. Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200904d.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Generating Sodium Hydroxide from Sodium Sulfate and Calcium Hydroxide

A company produces crystalline sodium sulfate as a byproduct, using sodium hydroxide as one of many feeds within the process. They seek to use the available compounds to produce it in situ. The company seeks a process that uses sodium sulfate and calcium oxide to produce sodium hydroxide, and could accept an aqueous product from a process with the lower limit being about 8% caustic solution with moderate sulfate content. Low calcium content in the caustic is important. The company can accept the formation of gypsum as a by-product of the process. Respond to this TechNeed at:www.techbriefs.com/tn/200904c.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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