NASA SBIR 2018-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-2- Z10.01-1251
 Cryogenic Fluid Management
 Lightweight, Reliable Cryogenic Screen Channel Acquisition Devices with High Expulsion Efficiency
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Creare, LLC
16 Great Hollow Road
Hanover, NH 03755
(603) 643-3800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Thomas Conboy
16 Great Hollow Road
Hanover, NH 03755 - 3116
(603) 643-3800

BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Robert Kline-Schoder
16 Great Hollow Road
Hanover, NH 03755 - 3116
(603) 640-2487

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 3
End: 4
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Refueling spacecraft in space offers tremendous benefits for increased spacecraft payload capacity and reduced launch cost. However, in a microgravity environment, acquiring vapor-free cryogenic liquid propellants from supply tanks and then transferring them to receiving tanks is very challenging. To address this challenge, Creare developed a robust, lightweight hybrid Liquid Acquisition Device (LAD) with screened channels for cryogenic propellants. The hybrid LAD has a novel configuration enabled by Creare’s unique fabrication processes. Creare’s LAD employs a hybrid capillary structure to position the residual liquid in a tank to optimum locations to maintain liquid supply for the LAD screen surfaces, and thus enhance the expulsion efficiency. Creare’s innovative fabrication process reliably maintains the pore structure of the screen near bonding joints with its support frames. The lightweight support frames provide mechanical support for the screen to withstand launch vibrations. In Phase I, we successfully demonstrated the feasibility and performance benefits of our approach through designing, fabricating, and testing a proof-of-concept screened channel. In Phase II, we will build and demonstrate a laboratory-scale hybrid LAD and deliver it to NASA for further evaluation.

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The technology developed in this project will enable reliable spacecraft refueling in a microgravity environment. Creare’s lightweight LAD will enable almost all the propellants in the supply tank to be transferred to a spacecraft engine, and thus significantly reduce the effective launch cost of spacecraft. The technology also has applications as phase separators in two-phase bio and chemical reactors, as well as in fluid management for two-phase flow thermal management and power systems.

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The technology developed in this project has applications in propellant acquisition systems in commercial spacecraft, and gravity-insensitive aircraft fuel supply systems. The capillary structure fabrication technology developed in this program will also have many applications in terrestrial two-phase thermal management systems.

Duration: 24

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