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Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office
216/433-8806
katherine.k.martin@nasa.gov

November 22, 2004
 
RELEASE : 04-083
 
 
Innovative Technologies Earn NASA Glenn Three R & D 100 Awards
 
 
Three innovations developed at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, were among the top 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year, according to an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine. The awards were recognized on October 14 at an event at Chicago's Navy Pier.

The three NASA Glenn innovations are described below.

The ME3 Advanced Turbine Disk Alloy, developed by Glenn materials researchers Michael Nathal, Timothy Gabb and Robert Draper in collaboration with GE Aircraft Engines and Pratt & Whitney engineers, is a nickel-based powder metallurgy superalloy that will withstand high combustion temperatures for improved engine efficiency and help prolong turbine and compressor disk life. By allowing engines to withstand higher combustion temperatures and pressure ratios, the use of ME3 results in increased fuel efficiency, lower fuel burn and reduced emissions. ME3 is useful for aircraft with longer take-off requirements or high-speed cruise aircraft, such as super jumbo jets, supersonic jet aircraft and advanced military aerospace vehicles. Engine manufacturers can also use ME3 at current operating temperatures to increase the time between required engine maintenance, since it is estimated to last nearly 30 times longer than current disk material.

Named for its inventor, Carlos Morrison of Glenn, the Morrison Motor operates without a bearing and incorporates a switched-reluctance motor with an 8-pole stator and 6-pole rotor. The motor operates with magnetic levitation instead of bearings, making it ideal for applications in which large temperature variations or other extreme conditions exist. Reduced overall power consumption and less mechanical noise and vibration are achieved with a hybrid rotor and half the number of windings. Its compact design and simpler motor control logic, coupled with an infinitely variable torque/levitation load ratio, makes the motor an attractive tool for pharmaceutical centrifuges, compact industrial grinders, milling machines and high-power density motors for aircraft propulsion.

Glenn engineers Phil Abel, Phil Neudeck, Tony Powell and Andy Trunek, in collaboration with Sest, Inc., and OAI, have also developed a diagnostic tool to evaluate and verify the operation and calibration of instruments for measuring nanoscale objects. The Nanometer Step Height Standard (Nanometer SHS) is a calibration standard with arrays of atomic scale staircases. Each staircase features regularly spaced steps nearly 1 micrometer apart with atomically flat terraces between step risers of either 0.5 or 1.0 nanometers, as chosen during fabrication. These heights are around 10 times smaller than those of previous standards for scanning probe microscopy calibration. The new devices are fabricated from highly durable single crystal silicon carbide, whose unique crystal properties enable the atomic scale staircase formation. This technology has been patented by NASA and two space act partnerships are in place for commercial application.

More information on the R&D 100 Awards is available at: http://www.rdmag.com/scripts/awards.asp

More information on Glenn can be found at: www.nasa.gov/glenn

Print quality photographs are at:
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/news/04-083addm.html

 

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