NASA Tech Needs

Protecting Anodized Aluminum in a Highly Alkaline Environment

A company seeks to protect the surface of an aluminum product when exposed to the harsh alkaline environment inside a dishwasher. The product currently has a hard-anodized surface to protect against abrasion. The company seeks to avoid an exterior coating that can be abraded away. Preferably, the surface would be made impervious by adding to the anodized coating, changing the material of the coating, or changing the chemistry by which it’s made.

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Composite Materials — Partnership Opportunities

Organic matrix composite materials have the potential for a significant mass reduction compared to metallic materials for aircraft and spacecraft, and have been a NASA focus for many years. The major technology drivers for these applications include large-scale composites manufacturing, composite damage tolerance and detection, and primary structure durability. Successful composite technologies will demonstrate concepts with reduced weight and cost with no loss in performance when compared to technologies for metallic concepts.

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Smart and Intelligent Sensors

Rocket engine testing is the primary mission for Stennis Space Center. Test stand facilities include the B-1/B-2 complex built for the Apollo Program, which is now used to test the RS-68 engine. A number of smaller test stands are available for testing components and lower thrust rocket engines. A-3 is a new test stand under construction that will have the capability to simulate high-altitude conditions. For each test article, the customer expects to receive highquality measurements to support their engine design, validation, and certification requirements. Making these measurements requires hundreds or thousands of sensors.

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Low-Friction Surface for Ready-to-Use Catheter

A company seeks a low-friction surface for ready-to-use intermittent catheters for both men and women, with the goal of achieving insertion and retraction without causing any trauma or perception of trauma. The low-friction surface must operate during insertion, while the catheter is in place, and during removal. Balance between kink-resistance and flexibility is important, and the ability to insert the catheter without touching it would be ideal. It must offer 3-5 years of shelf life at ambient temperatures, and use biocompatible materlals.

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One-Handed Ergonomic Approach to Pliers/Cutters

A company seeks a new generation of precise, ergonomic pliers that virtually eliminates the effort that causes hand fatigue. Ideally, it would require the exertion of zero force to cut through Romex, strapping, or staples. The tool must provide one-handed operation and conform to a variety of grips a worker may use. It is preferable that the device use mechanical advantage rather than power, although self-contained power assist is acceptable. A battery pack or compressed air connection will not work.

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Chemical Approach to Spraying All Sides of a Complex Shape

A company seeks technology to spray waterborne substances — both suspensions and solutions — on all sides of an object, even the under sides, regardless of the attitude of the object or the direction from which the spray impinges. Nearuniform coating on all surfaces of the object is required. The technology should not affect the sprayed product negatively, and must work with current spraying equipment and liquid carriers.

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Triclosan Replacement

A company seeks a replacement for triclosan, a popular anti-microbial agent used in household products. The replacement requires thermal stability to withstand manufacturing temperatures (such as polymer melt temperatures during molding), UV stability, and compatibility with anionic detergents. It should also be environmentally friendly, sustainable, broad-spectrum, and cause no color change or odor in the product to which it is applied.

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Intelligent Integrated System Health Management

Stennis Space Center is NASA’s primary center for rocket engine testing. The facilities include large test stands built for the Apollo Program that are being used to test Space Shuttle Main Engines, smaller test stands for smaller rockets and components, and a new test stand, the A3 Test Stand with capability to simulate high-altitude conditions. All test stands are complex systems that provide oxidizer, fuel, and purge fluids, often at extreme pressures and high velocities. The test stand systems must also manage cryogenic temperatures from liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen, and liquid nitrogen, as well as high temperatures from rocket plumes. Further more, test stands include hundreds of sensors, and accurate and reliable measurement systems to obtain data that can be used in the design, validation, and certification of engines and components.

Rocket engine testing is a complex and potentially hazardous operation, not unlike a spacecraft launch. Protocols and processes are followed in order to ensure readiness to test. In order to improve efficiencies and safety in test stand operations, it is crucial to develop systems that can help provide comprehensive and continuous vigilance of each element on the test stand. An ISHM system will provide this capability.

Technology Needs

Integrated System Health Management (ISHM) capability is fundamentally linked to the management of data, information, and knowledge (DIaK) to determine the health of a system. It is similar to having a team of experts who are all individually and collectively observing and analyzing a complex system, and communicating effectively with each other in order to arrive to an accurate and reliable assessment of its health. ISHM is a capability that is achieved by integrating DIaK that might be distributed throughout the system elements. DIaK must be available to any element of a system at the right time and in accordance with a meaningful context. ISHM Functional Capability Level (FCL) is measured by how well a system performs the following functions: (1) detect anomalies, (2) diagnose causes, (3) predict future anomalies/ failures, and (4) provide users with an integrated awareness about the condition of every element in the system and guide user decisions.

The primary technologies that enable achievement of ISHM capability include:

Algorithms/approaches/methodologies for anomaly detection. Approaches and methodologies for root-cause analysis to diagnose causes of anomalies. Approaches and methodologies for prediction of future anomalies. Architectures/taxonomies/ontologies that enable management of DIaK – where management implies distributed storage, sharing, processing, maintenance, configuration, and evolution. Software environments that integrate contributing technologies in a modular plug-and-play fashion, adhering to a defined architecture/ taxonomy/ontology. Standards that allow plug and play and interoperability among elements of an ISHM system. User interfaces to provide the user with integrated system awareness.

Developing solutions to the primary technologies must also consider intelligence and integration. In telligence implies that a credible ISHM capability that allows systematic augmentation of that capability must be a knowledgebased system. implies that inferences and decisions about the health of any element must incorporate and reason using other elements and physical phenomena through out the system.

More Information

For additional information, or to discuss ideas about this concept, contact John Lansaw of Stennis Space Center at 228-688- 1962 or visit nasa@techbriefs.com.

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NASA Engineering Polymer Development Needs

There is increasing interest in lightweight and ultra-lightweight structural concepts and materials within NASA’s exploration mission and as part of efforts to develop “green” aeronautics options. Polymers and polymeric composites are important elements in design and construction of the nation’s future aircraft and spacecraft. Langley Research Center (LaRC) in particular has very active programs in development of advanced engineering polymers for use as structural components, as films or coatings, or for high-temperature or acoustic insulation.

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Technologies to Protect Crop Plants From Pesticide Damage

A company seeks technologies or “safeners” that minimize the negative impact of pesticides on crops, such as physiological or cosmetic damage. The safener must have utility on a broad combination of crops, result in no inhibition effect or other performance consequences on the active ingredient, and have a minimum two-year shelf life under varying temperatures. Possible treatments include seed coating, pharma or cosmetic ingredients, or co-formulation with an existing product.

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