NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 H5.03-9848
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Multifunctional Materials and Structures
PROPOSAL TITLE: In-situ Sensing for Multi-Functional Structures

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
90 Broadway, 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 500-4811

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Dan Campbell
90 Broadway, 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 500-4811

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Scott Hart
90 Broadway, 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 500-4892

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Multifunctional Materials and Structures 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)
Aurora has developed a method to directly embed conductive fibers and dielectric layers into a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) structure. To date we've been using this method to embed wiring harnesses and heaters into structures. The proposed innovation leverages our success with embedded wiring, to embed strain gages and thermocouples. The resulting innovation yields CFRP structures with multiple functionalities:
1) transmitting electrical power
2) transmitting electrical signals
3) heating
4) sensing strain due to loading
5) sensing residual strain due to manufacturing
6) sensing crack propagation
7) sensing temperature
The innovation is enabled by a novel combination of materials within a shared manufacturing process. The material combination makes use of common carbon fibers that are conductive and demonstrate peizoresitive properties. By layering and arranging these materials in a novel manner, the functionalities listed above can be realized. Given that these sensing materials are in-situ (i.e. the materials are all fiber based and share a common matrix material) structural integrity is not compromised and the sensors are more likely to survive a lifetime of cyclic loading. Additionally, because the sensory materials and conductors are all fiber-based, automated manufacturing techniques (e.g. automated fiber placement) can be utilized to reduce manufacturing costs.
The embedded technologies, in combination with Aurora's self- aware aircraft tools, promise to reduce weight, increase performance, and life expectancy of aircraft.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Space Launch System (SLS). It's expected that NASA's SLS launch vehicle will make use of large composite fairings to protect the second stage during launch. This vehicle is exceptionally sensitive to weight. By utilizing the proposed strain sensors, residual stresses during composite fabrication can be measured. By knowing the value of these residual strains, design safety factors can be lowered and weight reduced.

NASA N+3 Subsonic Transport. Aurora, working with MIT, continues to advance the development of NASA's N+3 aircraft, the double-bubble configuration. The aircraft design is representative of a 737 sized aircraft entering service in the 2030 timeframe. The design of this aircraft is still young enough, in the conceptual stages, that the technologies proposed could be integrated into the first production aircraft. Aurora is proposing to the FAA that we design and manufacture a sub-scale fuselage. For this fuselage test article, we'll propose implementation of a structural health system.

NASA Global Hawk. Aurora manufactures the primary structure of the aircraft aft of the wings. This aircraft could benefit from the increased life expectancy allowed by the proposed technology. The Global Hawk has demonstrated continued value for the DoD and likely to become a legacy program. Getting sensors onto the aircraft now would provide the ability to extend the aircraft's legacy. NASA's Global Hawk aircraft could be used as a first adopter.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aurora's Orion Unmanned Aircraft – The Orion aircraft is designed and fabricated by Aurora, providing a rapid path for technology insertion onto a flight ready aircraft. The proposed sensors in combination with Aurora's Self Aware tools would allow us to extend the flight envelope and life expectancy of Orion. This would ultimately increase the aircraft's performance and reduce its operating cost.

Aurora's DARPA ADAPT Aircraft – Aurora is manufacturing fourteen small aircraft for DARPA, delivery is scheduled for Q2 2015. The aircraft have a five pound payload capacity with three hour endurance. By embedding the proposed technologies into the aircraft's composite wings, we can easily provide an aircraft for third parties to use as a development platform for structural health monitoring.

Commercial Transport Aircraft – The technologies under this proposal are aimed at commercial aircraft manufactures (Boeing and Airbus) with the promise of low cost materials and easy integration with current production tools (e.g. Automated Fiber Placement). The technology is attractive for its affordability on a production scale and ability to survive over the aircraft's lifecycle.

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.)
Condition Monitoring (see also Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37