NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 X5.02-8417
PHASE 1 CONTRACT NUMBER: NNX08CB58P
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Lunar Regolith Excavation and Material Handling
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Fidelity Multi-Scale Regolith Simulation Tool for ISRU

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Grainflow Dynamics, Inc.
1141 Catalina Drive, PMB #270
Livermore, CA 94550 - 5928
(925) 447-4293

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Otis Walton
walton@grainflow.com
1141 Catalina Drive, PMB #270
Livermore, CA 94550 - 5928
(925) 447-4293

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NASA has serious unmet needs for simulation tools capable of predicting the behavior of lunar regolith in proposed excavation, transport and handling systems. Existing discrete element method (DEM) or finite element (FE) models lack adequate fidelity for fine cohesive powders comprised of friable particles with irregular shapes and exhibiting substantial bulk dilation upon initial excavation. As such, they are inadequate for assessing the reliability of regolith excavation and handling systems, and even less so for evaluation of engineering trade-offs between total system mass, power and energy consumption. Also, current simulation tools do not include the effects of triboelectric and photo-ionization-induced charges on regolith particles.
Building on the successful Phase-1development of a new charge-patch electrostatic model and a comprehensive cohesive particle interaction model for DEM, Grainflow Dynamics proposes to develop a high-fidelity predictive calculational tool, in the form of a DEM module with calibrated interparticle-interaction relationships, coupled with a FE module utilizing enhanced, calibrated, constitutive models which, together, are capable of mimicking both large deformations and the flow behavior of regolith simulants and lunar regolith under conditions anticipated in ISRU operations. This will not only provide unparalleled fidelity but also will leverage the computational efficiency of the continuum FE codes to drastically reduce the simulation time and resources necessary to perform engineering analyses on regolith systems. In addition, the modules will be parallelized to maximize their usefulness in multi-core and cluster computing environments. This work will lead to an improved engineering design tool that can be used by NASA engineers and contractors developing designs for ISRU equipment to evaluate both the reliability of various configurations as well as the trade-offs of system designs.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The pharmaceutical industry has a large number of applications, which would benefit from significantly improved simulation capabilities for cohesive powders in a variety of pharmaceutical material manufacturing, transport and handling operations, including micronization, granulation, coating, blending, tableting, dosating and capsule or blister-pack filling – especially powders designed for pulmonary delivery. The FDA's Process Analytical Technology (PAT) initiative emphasizes the need for pharmaceutical makers to understand the processes they use and to design the processes for quality, reliability, robustness and consistency. These goals overlap significantly with NASA's needs to better understand the processing of bulk cohesive granular material. Reliable tools to predict powder deformation and flow behavior would greatly facilitate the attainment of such goals.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The pharmaceutical industry has a large number of applications, which would benefit from significantly improved simulation capabilities for cohesive powders in a variety of pharmaceutical material manufacturing, transport and handling operations, including micronization, granulation, coating, blending, tableting, dosating and capsule or blister-pack filling especially powders designed for pulmonary delivery. The FDA's Process Analytical Technology (PAT) initiative emphasizes the need for pharmaceutical makers to understand the processes they use and to design the processes for quality, reliability, robustness and consistency. These goals overlap significantly with NASA's needs to better understand the processing of bulk cohesive granular material. Reliable tools to predict powder deformation and flow behavior would greatly facilitate the attainment of such goals.
In addition, the xerographic industry (e.g., laser printers and copiers) could benefit from a predictive tool to assist in design improvements for powdered toner tribocharging, transfer, and fusing. Despite 50 years of R&D, many details of the overall xerographic process are only poorly understood, and fierce competition provides motivation to seek design improvements.

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.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
In-situ Resource Utilization
Tools


Form Generated on 10-23-08 13:36