NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-A2.03-8170 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 034835)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Revolutionary Technologies and Components for Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE:Methods to Remove Coke from Endothermic Heat Exchangers

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TDA Research, Inc.
12345 West 52nd Ave
Wheat Ridge ,CO 80033 - 1916
(303) 422 - 7819

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. David T. Wickham
12345 W. 52nd Ave.
Wheat Ridge ,CO  80033 -1916
(303) 940 - 2350
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

Currently the United States space program is recognized as the world leader in providing access to space. However, in order to maintain this position, it will be necessary to reduce the very high cost of reaching low Earth orbit by using single stage or two stage to orbit vehicles. Some components of these vehicles have exceptionally high heat loads and require additional cooling capacity, which can be accommodated by utilizing the additional fuel heat sink capacity available from endothermic cracking reactions. Unfortunately, cracking reactions lead to coke deposition in the heat exchanger, which can be a potentially serious problem if it is allowed to accumulate. Therefore in this Phase I proposal, TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) will develop methods to remove the coke from the heat exchanger flow path. Previously, several different coke formation mechanisms were though to occur during cracking and the selection of an appropriate method to remove the coke would depend on the mechanism responsible. However, as a result of previous work, we have identified the mechanism primarily responsible for coke deposition with JP-7 and JP-8. Thus, the methods we develop in this SBIR Phase I proposal have a high probability of success.

The most immediate application of this technology for NASA would be in the removal of carbon deposits from fuel flow paths in vehicles that require a substantial amount of cooling from the fuel. Coke deposits will reduce the heat transfer and inhibit fuel flow, both of which can lead to total failure of the unit. Since coke deposition accompanies the cracking reactions required to provide the necessary cooling, methods to remove coke are critical to the continued development of reusable launch vehicles.

Our technology would find substantial commercial use in removing hydrocarbons and other compound from high precision components such as semiconductors, magnetic disks, medical devices, optics, flight hardware, etc. Because of the current limitations in the use of chlorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons, alternative methods using more environmentally and less toxic compounds are of current interest. Because the goal of our project will be to identify conditions and solvents that are more effective for high molecular weight compounds, it will lead to significant improvements over cleaning methods currently used.