NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:05 X10.05-9714
SUBTOPIC TITLE:Computational Material Science Tools for Space Nuclear Systems Design
PROPOSAL TITLE:A Computational Tool for the Prediction of Long Term Stability of Refractory Alloys

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CompuTherm, LLC
437 S. Yellowstone Dr. Suite 217
Madison ,WI 53719 - 2902
(608) 274 - 1414

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Fan   Zhang
437 S. Yellowstone Dr. Suite 217
Madison, WI  53719 -2902
(608) 274 - 1414

NASA's missions of space exploration require significant power sources both for propulsion and for on-board power. This motivates the development of high temperature structural materials to maximize the thermodynamic efficiency of power conversion systems. Refractory alloys are essential due to their high operating temperature capability that in turn enables high thermal conversion efficiency. The overall objective of the proposed study is to provide NASA with a simulation tool that can be used to improve the performance of current available refractory alloys and accelerate the development of new refractory alloys with desired properties for space nuclear applications. The tool will include:

(1) A thermodynamic database for the multi-component RM-TM-IE system, in which RM represents refractory metals including Nb, Mo, Ta, W, and Re; TM represents transition metals including Ti, Zr, and Hf; and IE represents interstitial elements, such as C, N, and O.
(2) A mobility database for the multi-component RM-TM-IE system;
(3) A computer software package with needed functions for thermodynamic calculations, kinetic simulations, and user-friendly interface.

In Phase I, the tool will be developed for the Nb-Zr-C sub-system to examine the feasibility. In Phase II, its applications will be extended to multi-component RM-TM-IE refractory alloy systems.

The computational tool developed in this project will include thermodynamic database, mobility database and computer software. The databases will provide NASA a knowledge base for refractory RM-TM-IE alloys. Thermodynamic calculation and kinetic simulation will provide scientists/engineers of NASA with phase equilibrium and microstructural evolution information of refractory alloys. Such information is useful for NASA in the selection of alloy composition and processing conditions to obtain desired alloy properties, therefore beneficial to NASA in the development of new structural materials and improve current existing ones for space nuclear systems. The application of the software package developed in the project is not limited to refractory alloys. Instead it can be used to calculate phase equilibrium and microstructural evolution for other alloys if thermodynamic and mobility databases are available for the alloys. This provides NASA a facility to work on other alloy systems beyond RM-TM-IE refractory alloys.

The computational tool developed in this project has many potential non-NASA applications. It can be used by researchers at universities and research institutes who work on high temperature materials. Companies work on the development of structural materials for high temperature applications, such as engine materials will also find this tool useful. The software package with a user-friendly graphic interface is an easy-to-use tool. It will allow users to perform calculations with a few clicks of the mouse, without requiring extensive experience or knowledge of thermodynamics and kinetics. This will make thermodynamic calculations and kinetic simulations of refractory alloys available to a wide range of users. The software package works for other alloys as well if corresponding thermodynamic and mobility databases are accessible. The simulation tool developed in this project can also be used as a consulting tool, provide services to academic and industrial customers.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Computational Materials
Database Development and Interfacing
Nuclear (Adv Fission, Fusion, Anti-Matter, Exotic Nuclear)
Software Tools for Distributed Analysis and Simulation

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12