NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 S3.02-9170
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Thermal Control Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Variable Emissivity Electrochromics Using Ionic Electrolytes and Low Solar Absorptance Coatings

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ashwin-Ushas Corp, Inc.
500 James Street, Suite 7
Lakewood, NJ 08701 - 4043
(732) 901-9096

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Prasanna Chandrasekhar
500 James Street, Suite 7
Lakewood, NJ 08701 - 4043
(732) 901-9096

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 7 to 8

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This work further developed a highly promising variable emissivity technology for spacecraft thermal control, based on unique conducting polymer (CP) electrochromics combined with ionic electrolytes, developed earlier by this firm (Air Force, JPL) with: Extremely thin (< 0.2 mm), flexible (plastic), lightweight (0.192 kg/m^2), variable area, "skin-like" construction; Delta-Emittance > 0.4, emittance range 0.15 to 0.90; power 40 micro-W/cm^2; proven space durability (thermal vacuum, atomic-O, VUV, solar wind), operating temperature (-)70 to (+)105 C); use of ionic electrolytes with zero vapor pressure needing no seal; low cost (est. $5K/m^2). A technical hurdle in the earlier-generation technology, of high solar absorptance (values up to 0.8) in the dark, high-emissivity state, remained, the sole hurdle hindering implementation of the technology. The Phase 1 introduced the new innovation of unique, proprietary IR-transparent coatings lowering the solar absorptance (Alpha(s)) of the variable emittance devices ("skins") drastically. In Phase 1, the best coatings yielded Alpha(s) of 0.306, emittance of 0.383 for the light state, and Alpha(s) 0.454, emittance 0.841 for the dark state (Delta emittance 0.458), with a calculated temperature under direct sunlight in space of < 60 C. Devices endured thermal vacuum > 110 days, VUV, atomic-O exposure, abrasion tests. Calorimetric emittance measurements under space vacuum were identical to emissometer measurements in air. In Phase 2, the primary objective will be ground space qualification and a TRL of 7 or higher, with an extensive series of tests to include: thermal vacuum, thermal cycling, solar wind, atomic-O, micrometeoroid, vibration, ESD. These will be done in our labs as well as at several partner labs, including two large aerospace companies who are Phase 2 commercial partners, and several outsourcing vendors. At least one firm spaceflight opportunity has been identified. Expected TRL at end of Phase 2 is 7-8.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This technology may displace extant mechanical louvers, heat pipes, as well as newer technologies (MEMS louvers, electrostatics, reverse-electrochromics), on large as well as small spacecraft, deployed by NASA as well as commercial and military entities. Additionally, other technologies are difficult or impossible to adapt to micro- (< 100 kg) and nano- (<5 kg) spacecraft, the thrust of future aerospace development, which will allow launch of more spacecraft at lower cost, opening doors to profound new applications for communications, defense. The potential variable emittance market is estimated at several hundred m^2 per year, with a substantial portion for NASA craft.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Besides potentially replacing extant mechanical louvers and heat pipes in spacecraft, the technology is possibly the only one applicable to micro- and nano-spacecraft, the thrust of future aerospace development. Availability of the technology will allow for much greater design freedom in such spacecraft. Military uses include space-based radars and undetectable nano-satellites. Non-space uses of these IR electrochromics include battlefield IR camouflage countermeasures, sunglasses for older patients and displays/billboards.

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.

Launch and Flight Vehicle
Optical & Photonic Materials
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 10-23-08 13:36