NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Chemical Propulsion Systems and Modeling
PROPOSAL TITLE:Efficient and Accurate Computational Framework for Injector Design and Analysis

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Combustion Research and Flow Technology,
6210 Kellers Church Road
Pipersville ,PA 18947 - 1020
(215) 766 - 1520

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ashvin   Hosangadi
6210 Keller's Church Road
Pipersville, PA  18947 -1020
(215) 766 - 1520

CFD codes used to simulate upper stage expander cycle engines are not adequately mature to support design efforts. Rapid and accurate simulations require more versatile grid frameworks to handle complex geometries of multi-element injector configurations. Turbulence models require upgrades to better predict fuel/air mixing with swirl and to predict heat flux. The innovation proposed initiates work towards developing a mature, high-fidelity simulation tool. Geometry complexity and numerical accuracy problems are addressed via a multi-element UNS grid adaptation strategy that builds upon techniques developed for valving problems and scramjet injectors. Turbulent mixing and heat transfer are upgraded by including PDE's that solve for temperature and species variance (yielding local values of Prandtl and Schmidt number), as well as swirl corrections. Finally generalized preconditioning that accounts for stiffness resulting from a large range of Mach numbers, and generalized thermodynamic formulations for real fluids will be matured to yield robust numerics with improved solution convergence. The tools and technology to be developed here would directly impact design efforts for future long duration lunar and Mars missions that require more durable long-life, light weight system components, and address methodology to operate with novel hydrocarbon fuels that may be harvested in-situ.

There currently is a need for high fidelity CFD software that can support the design of thrusters for Reaction Control and Orbital Maneuvering systems; current tools are not adequately accurate or robust enough to provide solutions within the rapid turnaround timelines demanded in a design cycle. The proposed Phase I effort will result in a commercial CFD tool that will address some of these deficiencies by developing a more versatile computing framework with more advanced physical models. The framework would also be general enough to model novel hydrocarbon propellants such as Methane that may be harvested in-situ. We anticipate that this tool will be used in conjunction with current design procedures to either refine preliminary designs or rectify potentially anomalous behavior in existing designs. We also anticipate technology developed here to be transferred to other codes used at NASA MSFC after validation and demonstration of improvements they offer.

Potential customers for this commercial product are companies currently involved in designing propulsion components for future space systems including Boeing, Pratt and Whitney/Rocketdyne, and Northrup Grumman. The design of systems for long duration lunar and Mars missions will require light weight components that have to operate with increased durability. We anticipate our product being licensed by the larger prime contractors to provide simulation support. The ability to handle hydrocarbon combustion in a high-pressure environment will allow us to market this product to the oil and natural gas industry. The high cost of oil is motivating the energy industry to reconsider oil sources that are more expensive to extract. There is also renewed interest at improving efficiency and design of combustors using novel fuel compositions. Thus, the ability to model real fluid, combusting flows at high pressures and temperatures would make this software of interest to the broader energy industry.

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.

Feed System Components
Fundamental Propulsion Physics
Simulation Modeling Environment
Thermodynamic Conversion

Form Printed on 09-19-05 13:12