NASA SBIR 2019-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 19-2- H8.01-3356
 Low Earth Orbit Platform Utilization and Microgravity Research
 Advanced Fluids Processing using Superhydrophobic Surfaces
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
2828 SW Corbett Ave, Suite 143
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 974-6655

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ryan Jenson
2828 SW Corbett Ave Ste 143
Portland, OR 97201 - 4811
(503) 545-2501

BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ryan Jenson
2828 SW Corbett Ave Ste 143
Portland, OR 97201 - 4811
(503) 545-2501

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 4
End: 9
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Superhydrophobic (SH) surfaces have tremendous applications potential for essentially non-contact water and aqueous solution processing aboard spacecraft for life support. However, such surfaces have not been aptly exploited aboard spacecraft to date. In our Phase I work we (1) successfully demonstrated the marked improvements in system performance that can be achieved in microgravity environments with the use of SH surfaces, (2) we identified the many life support systems that can benefit from such surfaces, (3) we identified and documented an exhaustive variety of SH monolithic materials and coatings suitable for spacecraft deployment with holistic considerations of the complete life support system, and (4) we designed, constructed, low-g demonstrated, and delivered a high-performance passive urine collection and transport device. We also (5) devoted a significant effort to demonstrate the impact of surface contamination and fouling for 8 substrates during 57-day trials. The impact of the SH surface is to render the ‘wetted parts’ largely untouched by the contaminated urine streams. The result is that the device remains ‘contaminant-free’ and the number of replacement hoses can be substantially reduced or eliminated saving on cost, mass, volume, and crew time. We intend to develop and deliver a flight certified urine receptacle/hose device to NASA for flight tests aboard the ISS. Our long term objective is to deploy our manufacturing capabilities and judiciously apply the overall approach to any number of  water processing unit operations for life support including urine collection and distillation elements, bubble separations, droplet/mist filters, plant watering systems, condensing heat exchangers, and more. The design approach provides a dramatic reduction of fouling and contamination in the microgravity environment because urine jets and drops simply rebound from the internal non-wetting surfaces without making physical contact.

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

In general, spacecraft are replete with applications for superhydrophobic surfaces including potable water storage and transport, hydrolysis for breathing oxygen, condensing heat exchangers, urine processors, portable life support systems, laundering and hygiene, food rehydration and dispensing, plant and animal habitats, and others. In fact, nearly all liquid systems on spacecraft might benefit from such wettability gradients: coolants, water, aqueous solutions, bio-fluids, experimental fluids, lubricants, propellants, and fuels.

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

We expect the resulting products to appeal to commercial space operators and as well as certain terrestrial markets. Potential products include passive bubble diverters, passive two-phase flow separators, low pressure-drop distillation systems, and the novel combination of complex geometry in the superhydrophobic non-wetting state: non-occluding conduits, fittings, and valves.

Duration: 24

Form Generated on 05/04/2020 06:28:25