NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 A4.01-8824
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Test Measurement Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Friction-Sensing Retroreflector Array Patches (FRAP)

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Research Support Instruments, Inc.
4325-B Forbes Blvd.
Lanham, MD 20706 - 4854
(301) 306-0010

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John Kline
4325-B Forbes Blvd.
Lanham, MD 20706 - 4854
(732) 329-3700

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3 to 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Research Support Instruments, Inc. (RSI) proposes to develop the Friction-Sensing Retroreflector Array Patches (FRAP), a technology that will measure the shear stress distribution on aerodynamic surfaces in ground test facilities with high resolution, sensitivity, and bandwidth. Unlike the oil-film interference method, FRAP patches will not be thinned as a function of time during a test. No knowledge of the streamlines of the flow will be needed in order to calculate the local stress distribution; this will avoid the tracers needed with the oil-film interference approach. Flexible patches of FRAP arrays, inexpensive due to simple, mass-production-compatible microfabrication techniques, will be interrogated using a light source and camera. FRAP will be independent of the flow species and applied as a very thin, flexible, adhesive material. The Phase I goals will be to design sensors, develop a microfabrication technique and use it to fabricate prototype units, demonstrate feasibility, and select the most promising design for Phase II development. In Phase II, the prototype units will be field-demonstrated at NASA facilities, with manufacturing issues and realistic operating conditions addressed. The result will be a product that will address a critical NASA instrumentation need.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
RSI will use its experience in microfabricated structures and sensors to employ a highly innovative technology – a sheer-stress-sensing retroreflector array – in order to non-intrusively measure skin friction in NASA ground test facilities. The concept can even be extended to flight tests: the arrays could be interrogated by the airdrop craft or a chase plane, with all the benefits of a retroreflected signal. The FRAP technology will avoid the use of a depleted fluid and tracer elements that are inherent to the existing oil film interferometry method, and will address a key NASA need for non-instrusive diagnostics as well as flight test diagnostics and vehicle monitoring.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Several non-Government applications are possible. Flow sensors have a lucrative commercial market in manufacturing (for process monitoring) and medical diagnostics, as well a healthy market in scientific applications. Commercialized flow sensors are used in applications ranging from industrial processing and medical diagnostics to high-speed shock testing in chemical explosions. It is expected that the newly developed FRAP arrays will compete aggressively in these existing markets. In addition to NASA, target U.S. government customers will be the Air Force (for ground testing, flight tests, and vehicle monitoring) and the Navy (for similar applications).

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
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Testing Facilities

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50