NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 X2.02-9724
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Non-Toxic In-Space Propulsion
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Temperature Resistant Zirconia Coating for In-space Propulsion

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Spire Corporation
One Patriots Park
Bedford, MA 01730 - 2396
(781) 275-6000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Kelsey J Carvell
One Patriots Park
Bedford, MA 01730 - 2396
(781) 275-6000 Extension :420

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
To enhance NASA systems, Spire proposes a novel technique for growing a graded nanocrystalline ZrON/ZrO2 protective coating with superior heat tolerance on relevant in-space substrates. The proposed coating technology will adhere to and protect engine components such as injectors, combustion chambers, nozzles, and nozzle extenders. Conventional high temperature coatings applied by chemical vapor deposition inadequately adhere, and often spall. The proposed coating will distribute stress induced by thermal cycling and improve adhesion, resulting in an improved and longer lasting coating. The high temperature phase of ZrO2 is produced by controlling nucleation, grain growth, and grain size via the unique features of our deposition technique. The increased surface energy of the nanograins results in the formation of a dense cubic phase of zirconia, which is stable at very high temperature.

Phase I will develop a base-line process for applying highly adherent, thermally-resistant cubic ZrO2 layers on in-space propulsion substrates with a functionally graded ZrON metalloceramic transition layer at the metal interface.

The deposition guidelines for nanocrystalline ZrON/ZrO2 coating will be perfected to each unique substrate in Phase II. In addition, a number of metallic components will be coated and delivered to NASA to be evaluated for in-space propulsion use.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Thermal resistant coatings could be used for a multitude of NASA's engine components to protect the parts from high heat exhaust. The coating is applicable to a majority of substrates, from polymers to metals. Once commercialized, the coating application would take little time and would cost much less than replacing the engine components. A longer lifetime of the relevant parts would be particularly attractive for lengthy in-space missions. Spire Corporation would willingly accommodate NASA in terms the capacity and manpower to fulfill commercializing our coating on engine components.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Zirconia coatings can be used to protect against thermal damage or to improve the hardness of the surface. The medical field is one area both these qualities are in high demand. Thermal barriers could be applied to laser components when performing surgeries that use high heat to ablate skin or body tissues. The coating could also be applied to surgical screws, cervical plates, or orthopedics to improve hardness and longevity of the implantable devices. Medical applications are just one area that would benefit from a single step Zirconia coating.

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.)
Ablative Propulsion
Active Systems
Air Transportation & Safety
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Launch Engine/Booster
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Smart/Multifunctional Materials
Space Transportation & Safety

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12