NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Extreme High Temperature/High Pressure Environment
PROPOSAL TITLE:Venus Lander Experiment Vessel

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ceramic Composites, Inc.
133 Defense Highway, Suite 212
Annapolis, MD 21401-8907
(410) 224-3710

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Steven   Seghi
133 Defense Highway, Suite 212
Annapolis, MD  21401-8907
(410) 987-3435

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Ceramic Composites Inc. (CCI) of Millersville, MD in association with Swales Aerospace of Beltsville, MD have evaluated an innovative approach for the design of a Venus probe to maximize the payload volume and mass, while increasing probe lifetime. CCI and Swales have evaluated state-of-the-art materials and concepts to create a combination of thermal management approaches which maximizes value to NASA such as: 1) augmentation of the passive insulation with phase change materials (PCM) and two-phase evaporation cooling to maximize thermal protection at minimal volume and mass, 2) providing system corrosion protection through reverse flow gas balance to prolong vessel, sensor and window life, and 3) replacement of the titanium pressure vessel with a polymer matrix composite to reduce vessel mass and increase payload mass. The analyses conducted in Phase I indicate that the baseline concept will provide a lifetime of approximately 35 earth hours (while also managing a continuous 150W load from the scientific equipment) with a 100kg mass savings compared to a system employing the same thermal management system with a titanium pressure vessel. The Phase II effort will focus on refining the concept; designing, manufacturing, and evaluating a subscale prototype.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The primary applications for this high temperature and high pressure probe design technology are limited to NASA probes being sent to Venus or deep atmospheric probes to giant planets. This thermal management concept could be applied to landers for other planets as well. Mercury, for example, has a day side temperature of approximately 470oC with little to no atmosphere. It would, upon initial inspection, appear straightforward to modify the current thermal management system to perform effectively on Mercury. The lack of a high pressure atmosphere would reduce the load on the pressure vessel, further reducing the mass of the system. Likewise, the gas back-fill system becomes less complicated, if required at all. Project Prometheus is seeking radiators capable of operating at 1000 K1 and may face similar needs for lightweight insulating systems.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
While the system may have limited application, the components included within the program have great relevance here on earth. The use of lightweight moderate and low temperature insulation may find use in defense and commercial flight vehicles. The use of a lightweight, recycling, thin transpiration cooling layer may find use in automotive and electronic applications, and CCI is already studying the use of phase change materials in power electronics cooling. CTD is presently developing their PMC vacuum vessels for use as Dewars for liquid gas storage and chambers for chemical processing. Each of these applications will benefit from further study under this program.

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.

Control Instrumentation
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04