NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 X1.01-9363
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Regolith/Soil Transfer, Handling, & Processing of Extraterrestrial Material
PROPOSAL TITLE: Novel High-Temperature Pressure Sensors for Extreme Service Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Eltron Research & Development, Inc.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301 - 3241
(303) 530-0263

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David A Gribble, Jr.
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301 - 3241
(303) 530-0263 Extension :148

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This Phase I research will result in a prototype high temperature pressure sensing cell based on the piezoresistive properties of platinum:tungsten alloys. The Eltron Research & Development sensor will be based on a flexible, circular nickel-alloy diaphragm onto which the sensor electrodes will be deposited via sputter coating. A series of insulating and conducting thin-films will comprise the pressure sensing element and an inert protective top-coat will protect the underlying materials from oxidizing/reducing environments and potential degradation from space weather. The prototype sensor will make exclusive use of high-temperature materials in order to facilitate continuous operation in the 550–1200 deg. C range (significantly higher than currently available commercial pressure sensors). A technology readiness level (TRL) of 4 will be achieved by the conclusion of Phase I. Phase II research will package the prototype cell into appropriate hardware with all of the necessary on-board electronics for full transducer operation and proceed towards TRL 8.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In-situ resource utilization and extraterrestrial resource extraction are essential aspects of many near- and long-term NASA mission. Many technologies like oxygen extraction from Lunar Regolith and Martian soils can develop very high temperatures. Existing pressure sensors are not capable of operating continually at temperatures in excess of about 550 deg. C. During this research, Eltron will develop a new ultra-high temperature piezoresistive pressure sensor capable of continuous operation between 5501200 deg. C. In addition, the proposed sensor design incorporates only vacuum compatible materials and will not be impacted by operation in microgravity or reduced pressure atmospheres.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
High-temperature pressure sensors have myriad potential applications. These include down-bore sensor packages for exploratory, oil and gas, and geothermal drilling, coal and biomass gasification, power generation, and a wide variety of biofuel and petrochemical refining processes. In addition to allowing for direct pressure measurement in ultra-high temperature processes without requiring undesirable compromises, the Eltron pressure sensor will also function as a drop-in replacement for existing pressure transducers.

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.)
Command & Control
In Situ Manufacturing
Microfabrication (and smaller; see also Electronics; Mechanical Systems; Photonics)
Process Monitoring & Control
Resource Extraction
Sequencing & Scheduling
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12