NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-2 H2.02-8782
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In-Space Propulsion Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Fine Grained Tungsten Claddings for Cermet Based NTP Systems

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Plasma Processes, LLC
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811 - 1558
(256) 851-7653

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John Scott O'Dell
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811 - 1558
(256) 851-7653 Extension :104

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Timothy N. McKechnie
4914 Moores Mill Road
Huntsville, AL 35811 - 1558
(256) 851-7653 Extension :103

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In-Space Propulsion Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In October 2011, NASA initiated the Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) program to evaluate the feasibility and affordability of Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP). A critical aspect of the program is to develop a robust, stable nuclear fuel. One of the nuclear fuel configurations currently being evaluated is a cermet-based material comprised of uranium dioxide (UO2) particles encased in a tungsten matrix (W). To prevent excessive fuel loss from reaction with the hot hydrogen gas and uranium hydride formation, dense, fine-grained tungsten claddings are needed. Recently, advanced additive manufacturing techniques (EL-Form and Vacuum Plasma Spray Forming) have been developed that enable the deposition of coatings and near-net-shape refractory metal components with high density and tailored microstructures. The Phase I investigation produced fine-grained W claddings using EL-Form and VPS processing techniques. Testing showed the W claddings were well bonded to surrogate nuclear fuel element materials, and the W claddings were vacuum tight. During Phase II, the techniques developed during Phase I will be optimized, and W claddings on full size cermet fuel elements will be developed and characterized. Subscale and full-size test articles will be produced and delivered to NASA-MSFC for hot hydrogen testing in the Compact Fuel Element Environment Test (CFEET) facility and the Nuclear Thermal Rocket Element Environment Simulator (NTREES).

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA applications that would directly benefit from this technology include Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP). Space nuclear power and propulsion are game changing technologies for space exploration. Initial NTP systems will have specific impulses roughly twice that of the best chemical systems, i.e., reduced propellant requirements and/or reduced trip time. Currently, NASA's Nuclear Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (NCPS) project is working to demonstrate the viability and affordability of NTP. The proposed Phase II effort would greatly assist NASA with achieving the goals of the NCPS project. Potential NASA missions include rapid robotic exploration missions throughout the solar system and piloted missions to Mars and other destinations such as near earth asteroids.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Both government and commercial entities in the following sectors use advanced high-temperature materials for the following applications: coatings, defense, material R&D, nuclear power, aerospace, propulsion, automotive, electronics, crystal growth, and medical. Targeted commercial applications include net-shape fabrication of refractory rocket nozzles, crucibles, heat pipes, fuel rods, and propulsion subcomponents; and advanced coating systems for x-ray targets, sputtering targets, turbines, and rocket engines.

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.)
Coatings/Surface Treatments
Destructive Testing
Joining (Adhesion, Welding)
Processing Methods
Sources (Renewable, Nonrenewable)
Spacecraft Main Engine

Form Generated on 03-04-14 13:38