NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 Z3.02-8909
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Metallic Materials and Processes Innovation
PROPOSAL TITLE: Thermoplastic forming of bulk metallic glasses for precision robotics components

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Supercool Metals, LLC
5 Science Park 2nd floor
New Haven, CT 06511 - 1989
(203) 823-9032

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Evgenia Pekarskaya
5 Science Park 2nd floor
New Haven, CT 06511 - 1989
(646) 244-0247

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Evgenia Pekarskaya
5 Science Park 2nd floor
New Haven, CT 06511 - 1989
(646) 244-0247

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Advanced Metallic Materials and Processes Innovation 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)
Demand for novel manufacturing methods for space systems brings unique properties of bulk metallic glasses (BMG) into the spotlight. In addition to superior mechanical properties associated with enhanced reliability, BMG technology can offer new manufacturing processes that result in components with higher precision and complexity, eliminating machining and minimizing final assembly. In this project, we propose to utilize the unique thermoplastic forming (TPF) ability of bulk metallic glasses to net shape high precision robotic gears. The fabrication method that we propose to develop for NASA applications will yield shapes and dimensional accuracies that can't be achieved with any other metal fabrication method and produce thin walled geometries beyond what is possible with machining and casting processes. BMGs have demonstrated superior mechanical properties in extremely low temperature environments and ability to operate without lubricants in gear mechanisms. To take this further, we will explore improvement of friction and wear properties important for gears by fabricating composite surfaces through TPF method using molybdenum disulfide particles. The outcome of the project will be a demonstration of capabilities to manufacture precise robotic components with complex thin walled geometries and improved properties. Beyond space applications, the use of versatile thermoplastic forming processes for precision gears has a strong potential to bring cost savings for a wide range of industries that use robotic mechanisms.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Development of novel manufacturing processes for structures with superior mechanical properties has long been identified as one of the critical needs for NASA. The focus of the current solicitation in the area of specialty materials is specifically on bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) and processes that allow fabrication of components with thin walls and high precision. Our proposed project focuses on these technologies. Thermoplastically net shaped BMG components can bring significant benefits, including increased reliability, high level of functional integration, drastic reduction in required machining, lower cost and faster lead times. This is achieved due to exceptional strength and elasticity of BMGs, as well as novel processing methods, developed and patented by Prof. Schroers at Yale and Supercool Metals.

In this project, we focus on net shaping of precise robotic components for space applications using BMGs. BMG robotic components are highly attractive for use at low temperature and harsh environments (such as Europa mission) due to improved mechanical properties and ability to operate unlubricated. Beyond this, thermoplastic forming technology of BMGs has broader implications in areas of small satellites, pressure vessels and structural space applications in general.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Combining the properties of best structural metals with the processability of thermoplastics brings unique opportunities that will have a vast impact on a broad range of industries. BMG technology enables to significantly improve properties, develop new architectures and add functionalities to a variety of industrial and commercial products. Specifically, net shaping of BMGs is highly attractive for commercial and industrial robotics applications, electronics, defense, aerospace, automotive and biomedical industries. Currently, Supercool Metals has several contracts with large commercial companies in the watch industry for production of prototype watch movement components based on our TPF net shaping and molding processes. We are also working with electronics companies on development of casings for mobile phones and laptops and with aerospace companies on replacement of Ti-based components.

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.)
Microfabrication (and smaller; see also Electronics; Mechanical Systems; Photonics)
Processing Methods
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59