NASA SBIR 2011 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 11-1 A2.06-9878
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Aerothermodynamics
PROPOSAL TITLE: Electron Kinetics in Hypersonic Plasmas

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
CFD Research Corporation
215 Wynn Drive, 5th Floor
Huntsville, AL 35805 - 1926
(256) 726-4800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Vladimir Kolobov
proposals-contracts@cfdrc.com
215 Wynn Drive SW, 5th Floor
Huntsville, AL 35016 - 1944
(256) 726-4847

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The goal of this SBIR project is to advance the state-of-the-art in computations of hypersonic plasmas by adding high-fidelity kinetic models for electrons. Electron kinetics affects plasma-chemical reactions and nonequilibrium radiation, which are important for designing hypersonic vehicles. We will develop adaptive multi-scale models for electrons applicable for hypersonic flows in rarefied and continuum regimes using a hierarchy of kinetic and fluid solvers. During Phase 1, a framework for simulation electron kinetics will be added to our existing Unified Flow Solver. Initial testing will be performed to illustrate the feasibility of adaptive multi-scale simulations of electrons using three options: a) fluid model for high plasma densities, b) local Fokker-Planck solver for the Electron Energy Distribution Function, and c) spatially inhomogeneous (nonlocal) Fokker-Planck solver for rarefied flow regimes. In Phase 2, we plan to fully develop and validate the new models versus laboratory experiments. Increased predictive capabilities will be illustrated for the shock layer radiation in the poorly understood vacuum ultraviolet part of the spectrum. We will demonstrate the new tool for hypersonic vehicles with realistic 3D geometries. The effects of electric fields generated by the plasma and externally applied electric and magnetic fields will be taken into account to study discharges and MHD interactions. We will simulate the extreme entry environment at Earth and Mars entry.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This project will increase predictive capability of computational tools for simulations of the aerothermal environment around space vehicles at extreme Mach numbers. The new capabilities will find direct and immediate application in a multitude of NASA technology development programs related to access to space and planetary entry. Detailed treatment of electrons will reduce uncertainties and improve accuracy of collision-radiative models to predict radiation spectra and plasma signature. The accurate modeling of aerothermal environments is essential for predicting heat load and design of thermal protection systems (TPS) for space vehicles such as NASA's Orion spacecraft and the proposed Space Launch System. The modified UFS code will be used as a design tool for development of new generation vehicles for space exploration and components of future hypersonic spacecrafts. The new tool will help analyzing communication blackout problems and hypersonic flow control by electromagnetic fields. The methodology will also be useful for implementation in other legacy codes used at NASA.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Technology applications beyond NASA include Ballistic Missile Defense and future hypersonic vehicles performing exo-atmospheric missile intercepts, nozzle expansion and thruster plume interaction. The new model will improve predictive capabilities for calculating the radiation signature of hypersonic plasmas. The tool will have an appeal to rocket engine manufacturers (e.g., ATK, Pratt & Whitney, and Aerojet) and to universities studying arc-jets, plasmatrons and other high enthalpy flow systems. The developed computational tool will be utilized for evaluation of plasma phenomena on advanced hypersonic vehicles such as the X-51 waverider, missile technologies such as the Next Generation Aegis Missile. Typical applications include communication blackout for hypersonic flights, plasma flow control for hypersonic vehicles, electric propulsion, and plasma plumes expanding through nozzles, and shock wave propagation through plasmas. The methodology and software will be extendable for analysis of high-speed plasma jets for material processing and biomedical applications, plasma assisted ignition and combustion. Potential users include Air Force, DARPA, and commercial companies utilizing plasma technologies for aerospace, propulsion, power, material processing, and other applications.

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.)
Aerobraking/Aerocapture
Entry, Descent, & Landing (see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Simulation & Modeling


Form Generated on 11-22-11 13:43