Tech Exchange

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.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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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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Odor Removal From Recycled Plastics

This technology removes odors from recycled plastics, especially high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Odors absorbed from household or industrial liquids do not affect physical properties of the polymer, but make the recycled plastic unsuitable for consumer goods. Trace amounts of polyethylene imines blended with the recycled plastic remove aldehyde odors typically resulting from rancid fats and oils. The technology also includes a process for manufacturing odor-free films from recycled plastics. This technology comprises a process for preparing a blend of recycled polymer and polyalkylene imines (PAI). The present technology includes another process for preparing films, molded articles, or thermoformed articles by a compounding or masterbatch process. The method of producing the blend is not material as long as a relatively uniform distribution of the PAI polymer through the recycled polymer is obtained. It is preferred for the blend to have intimate mixing of the polymers, i.e. microscopic distribution of PAI through the recycled polymer. Get the complete report on this technology at: www.techbriefs.com/tow/200904b.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com

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Green Sewage Treatment and Water Purification Technology

A green sewage treatment and water purification technology combines water with fertilizer and biomass production. The sustainable water treatment system produces biofuel and organic fertilizer, and extracts carbon from the atmosphere. No electric power is required for sewage treatment, filtering, and water cleaning. The system uses no chemicals, and can run in heavy rain without hazardous overflow. It also stays intact in dry seasons, even for several months without rain. The system combines two layers of microbiological water treatment: an upper layer with aerobic activity and a lower layer with anaerobic activity. Since the upper layer covers the lower layer, no anaerobic gas production can escape into the atmosphere. Due to the optimized design, the clarifying power and productivity of the system is much higher than in other single-layer wetlands. Benefits include an extremely compact and effective design, protection of the lower layer by the upper layer, integrated liquid transfer, and not generating clearing sludge. Get the complete report on this technology at:www.techbriefs.com/tow/200904a.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics - Mesh Generation

NASA’s work in advanced aeronautics and space vehicle development relies on advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) codes such as FUN3D that rely on numerical solution of equations of motion over a discrete mesh of points in three dimensions. A judicious placement of points is required to optimize computing efficiency without greatly reducing the sensitivity and accuracy of the calculations. Rapid generation of such a mesh and its subsequent adaptation to better resolve the problem physics are critical to the application of CFD to complex real-world problems of interest. What are the Challenges? Improved mesh generators are needed to support programs in aerothermodynamics and fluid dynamics in general. More specifically, an anisotropic 3D mesh generator (or re-mesher) is needed that can be driven by a spatially varying metric tensor field, and which specifies mesh spacing along three orthogonal directions. The mesh generator must accommodate cell aspect ratio requests of at least 10,000:1 even in the presence of a curved metric tensor field to enable high Reynolds number finite-volume CFD applications. Furthermore, in regions of high anisotropy (not necessarily bounded by a vehicle surface), mesh cells should be dominantly layers of semi-structured hexahedra or triangular prisms to allow non-dissipative capture of bow shocks, boundary layers, free shear layers, wakes, contact surfaces, and so forth. What is NASA Doing? NASA currently conducts aerothermodynamic and fluid dynamics analyses of vehicles (heating rates, pressures, etc.) through the use of state-ofthe- art CFD codes. The mesh generation methods in use primarily rely on advancing front/layer, and/or Delaunay algorithms to provide the mesh of points needed to describe the vehicle and the surrounding domain of interest for the analysis. While current methods have been successfully applied to complex problems, clearly additional research and development is needed in the area of mesh generation to reduce human involvement and increase robustness. We would like to provide uncertainty estimates (error bars) for the computational results delivered much like experimentalists do for their results. A critical component enabling this capability is mesh adaptation, whereby an existing mesh is adapted to improve the solution based on the problem physics and/or a solution error estimate. The criteria that drive the mesh adaptation are specified via a Riemannian metric tensor field. Within the field, a 3x3 (2x2 in 2 dimensions) symmetric positive definite tensor defines the desired local spacing constraints for the mesh whereby its eigenvalues represent the desired spacing along the direction of the corresponding eigenvectors. Current mesh adaptation technology in use does not easily allow us to do this in the presence of high element anisotropy in three dimensions while maintaining element quality. If the desired mesh generator can be developed, we will gain control over spatial discretization errors for CFD codes. This will allow us to focus on physical modeling errors and automate the process of obtaining a solution for a given application with bounded discretization errors. NASA’s immediate needs include CFD modeling of the exploration vehicles now under development to replace the shuttle for transport to the International Space Station and eventually for transport to the Moon and beyond, as well as advanced supersonic and hypersonic air vehicle development, both for NASA (Commercial) and military applications. The astrophysics, climate analysis, and hemodynamics (blood flow) fields may also have a use for such a capability, i.e., other types of fluid dynamics applications. More Information For more information, contact Dr. Bill Kleb at 757-812-1805 or nasa@techbriefs.com.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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Crush/Cut-Resistant Safety Glove

A company seeks existing materials that can be utilized in applications for a safety glove. This material must be cutresistant, flexible, and withstand oily, wet, muddy conditions. The material covering the top of the hand and fingers must be extremely flexible and designed to protect the hand and digits from being crushed by dispersing the area of impact from the initial blow. The mold for the top area of the hand must have emphasis on complete coverage without hindering normal movement. Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200903d.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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