NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 A2.09-8605
PROPOSAL TITLE: Metal Rubber Sensor Appliqu‚s for Rotor Blade Air

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nanosonic, Inc.
1485 South Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 5556
(540) 953-1785

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Richard Claus
1485 South Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 5556
(540) 953-1785

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Thin film Metal RubberTM sensor appliqués have the potential to reduce the time, complexity and cost of measuring air flow-induced skin friction during the development of rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft and related systems. Metal RubberTM skin friction sensor appliqués allow near real-time detection 2D mapping of air flow conditions over surfaces of air vehicles. This is important for analysis of laminar to turbulent flow transitions, flow separation and reattachment mechanisms, and other instabilities, during rotor blade and fuselage design, blade tracking adjustments, and active flight control. The sensors act as mechano-electrical transducers to convert air flow-induced tangential surface forces into electrical output signals. They are thin and surface-mounted so cause minimal interaction with the flow, are easy to apply as an appliqué, and require no cavities or recesses other than holes to connect the sensor leads to data acquisition wiring. The material is resistant to normal aircraft fluids and solvents, can operate over a temperature range of -65 to +150C, and is capable of withstanding moderate rain and dust erosion.

During Phase II, NanoSonic will

• Develop an improved understanding of the operation of thin film Metal RubberTM skin friction sensors,
• Standardize sensor design and sensor fabrication processes,
• Develop a method to calibrate sensor elements as part of manufacturing,
• Develop a means to compensate for cross-sensitivity effects,
• Develop and optimize means for data acquisition,
• Use developed sensors in cooperation with the NASA LaRC Subsonic Rotary Wing program to investigate rotorcraft research and development problems, and
• Use and demonstrate the sensors in cooperation industry and academic colleagues.

The significance of the proposed NASA Phase II SBIR program is in transitioning these sensors from analytical and FEM modeling to commercial products for experimental use by NASA and industry.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Metal RubberTM skin friction elements and arrays have applications in multiple NASA program areas, with specific use in Aeronautics Research. Applications include

1. direct distributed measurement of skin friction on wind tunnel models to verify computational fluid dynamics (CFD) boundary conditions as part of rotary wing and fixed wing air vehicle development,
2. specific measurements of air flow directly on helicopter rotor blades,
3. measurement of air flow-induced shear forces on the helicopter fuselage and on the flight deck during landing or near-ground operations,
4. measurements of air flow-induced noise and vibration as part of efforts to mitigate both during rotorcraft operations,
5. two-dimensional mapping of air flow effects near surface-mounted MEMS actuators or flow injection ports to validate flow control approaches,
6. measurement of skin friction on full-scale flight test rotorcraft and aircraft,
7. two-dimensional tactile sensor 'skin' arrays for astronaut-assisted or astronaut-controlled tele-robotic manipulators, and
8. distributed physiological sensor arrays of blood pressure, and heart and respiration rate for astronauts during extended space missions and extracurricular activities.

Thin film skin friction sensor products developed during this program would directly support rotorcraft research within the Subsonic Rotary Wing Project, and extensive experimental instrumentation onsite at the NASA LaRC.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Non-NASA applications of Metal RubberTM 'sensor skin' arrays include

1. measurement of skin friction during the research and development of advanced commercial aircraft and hydrocraft by universities, industry, and other non-NASA government agencies,
2. instrumentation of air and water flow as part of industrial process control,
3. measurement of flow effects in energy production systems such as wind and water-driven turbines, and ocean wave-based electrical generators,
4. instrumentation in environmental monitoring, such as determination of air flow interactions with buildings and bridges, and water flow interactions with levies, and erosion control rip-rap, and
5. tactile sensor arrays to measure and map forces in biomedical prostheses.

Additional applications of Metal RubberTM materials themselves include

• as lightweight replacements for conventional tin-lead solder for the mechanical, electrical and thermal interconnection of electronic and mechanical components,
• in high performance, highly flexible, mechanically robust and lightweight electronic flex circuits, flexible displays and smart electronic fabrics,
• as low modulus conducting electrodes for high strain mechanical actuator and sensor devices, such as in medical prostheses, and
• as low-weight, electrically conductive and mechanically flexible coatings for systems requiring physically-robust electromagnetic shielding or ground planes.

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.

Attitude Determination and Control
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26