NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 04 A2.03-9221
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Revolutionary Technologies and Components for Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Temperature Smart Structures for Engine Noise Reduction and Performance Enhancement

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Continuum Dynamics, Inc.
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ 08618-2302

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Todd R. Quackenbush
34 Lexington Avenue
Ewing, NJ 08618-2302

Noise mitigation for subsonic transports is a continuing high priority, and recent work has identified successful exhaust mixing enhancement devices that have demonstrated substantial capability for reducing aircraft engine noise in critical takeoff and landing conditions. Existing fixed-geometry versions of such devices, however, are inherently limited to optimal noise mitigation in a single operating condition and also can impose significant performance penalties in cruise flight. An adaptive geometry device using smart structures technology offers the possibility of maximizing engine performance while retaining and possibly enhancing the favorable noise characteristics of current designs. The proposed Phase I effort will demonstrate the feasibility of this concept, focusing on design and demonstration of variable geometry chevrons using rapidly maturing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuation technology. This work represents an extension of prior successful development of solid state smart structures, though it will exploit new high temperature SMA (HTSMA) materials technology to enable the devices to operate in both low temperature (fan) and high temperature (core) exhaust flows. While important in its own right, this development also holds the promise of being the first step in development of a range of smart materials devices for a spectrum of aeropropulsion applications.

By providing highly innovative concepts for propulsion system components for subsonic jet transports, the proposed effort will directly support a wide range of broad NASA goals including noise reduction and maximization of engine performance. The chief technical output of the effort will be enabling technology for a variable geometry devices to replace the promising but limited current generation of fixed-geometry chevrons. In addition, the integrated aero/thermo/elastic models of actuator performance to be developed will assist the development of concurrent engineering tools for analysis and design of propulsion flow control systems.

A successful Phase I/Phase II effort will open the door to prototype testing and eventual implementation of flight-qualified SMA adaptive chevron hardware. The most direct beneficiary would be next generation subsonic transports that could incorporate high-force, all-electric exhaust mixing control systems into power plants with an optimal balance of reduced noise and improved performance. Successful implementation in this application would also lead to spinoff developments in a number of actuation tasks, including aerodynamic controls and thrust vectoring as well as steering and outflow redirection for marine propulsion that would directly benefit both civil and military systems.