NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S3.07-9191
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Terrestrial and Planetary Balloons
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low-Weight, Durable, and Low-Cost Metal Rubber™ Sensor System for Ultra Long Duration Scientific Balloons

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nanosonic, Inc.
158 Wheatland Drive
Pembroke, VA 24136 - 3645
(540) 626-6266

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
A. Hill
ahill@nanosonic.com
158 Wheatland Drive
Pembroke, VA 24136 - 3645
(540) 626-6266

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NanoSonic proposes to develop an innovative, low-cost, ultra low mass density, and non-intrusive sensor system for ultra long duration balloons (ULDB) that will operate in the most extreme environmental conditions. Specifically, the sensors would be integrated onto the load bearing seams and/or outer balloon mesh polyethylene surface of the pressurized balloon system to accurately and continually measure axial loads. Large axial load forces and extreme temperature ranges are typical for scientific balloon missions; therefore a durable, flexible, and thermally stable sensor material is needed. NanoSonic would use its highly flexible, low-modulus Metal RubberTM (MRTM) materials as strain/pressure sensors that are capable of large cyclic deformation without failure. MRTM is a free-standing nanocomposite material produced by the layer-by-layer combination of high performance polymers and electrically-conducting metal nanoparticles that provide durability and recoverability for sensor transduction, and a wide thermal operation range. Importantly, MRTM can behave like a rubber band in that it can be folded / compressed for stowage and then can be deployed and continually pressurized without failure. Also, because of the very low amount of metallic nanoclusters in the system (<0.02 volume %), the sensor system is extremely low-weight and would not alter the performance of the balloon.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NanoSonic proposes to develop an innovative sensor system for ultra long duration balloons (ULDB) that will reliably operate in extreme environments for extended intervals. NASA researchers depend on reliable terrestrial superpressure vehicles (such as ULDB's) to conduct scientific studies to obtain important information about the earth's atmosphere. Incorporating nanostructured sensor materials into/onto the balloon itself will provide means to push the limits beyond current capabilities and would allow for more reliable missions. Nanostructured Metal RubberTM sensors do not alter/impair the mass-density or modulus of the balloon membrane, and would provide the ability to measure the axial pressure during missions. There is much commercial potential for low-weight high strain sensors for scientific balloons and similar inflatable systems, specifically for NASA and the aerospace industry. NanoSonic's low modulus Metal RubberTM sensor plies and multi-element sensor arrays have unique applications in systems where strain is large and conventional stress/strain sensors mechanically fail.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There is a large market for low-weight high strain sensors for scientific balloons, high altitude morphing systems, and similar inflatable systems, specifically for NASA and the aircraft industry. NanoSonic's low modulus Metal RubberTM sensor plies and multi-element sensor arrays have unique applications in systems where strain is large and conventional stress and strain sensors mechanically fail. Such applications include flexible sensing garments for combatants, emergency first responders and astronauts, high altitude lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicles, deployable space habitats and structures, and deep submergence structures. Because Metal RubberTM is extremely durable, low modulus, and can have high electrical conductivity; it can also be used in high performance, highly flexible and mechanically robust electronic flex circuits, flexible displays and smart electronic fabrics, and as a replacement for conventional lead-based solder.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Airship/Lighter-than-Air Craft
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
Contact/Mechanical
Diagnostics/Prognostics
Nanomaterials
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE; NDT)
Smart/Multifunctional Materials


Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12