Glenn Innovations Receive R&D 100 Awards
Four products worked on at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, have been recognized by the editors of R&D Magazine and a panel of outside experts as being among the top 100 most technologically significant products of the year. Recipients of the R&D 100 awards will be recognized at an awards banquet on Thursday, October 20 at Chicago's Navy Pier.
The four Glenn award-winning products are described below.
Dr. Mary Ann Meador and Dr. James Kinder of Glenn's Materials Division, developed a family of rod-coil block copolymers to improve ionic conductivity in lithium polymer batteries. The new polymers combine a rigid rod and a flexible coil backbone. The rod portion provides mechanical integrity while the coil acts as a carrier for a variety of ions. These polymers offer cost-saving features for practical applications of lithium polymer batteries such as mobile phones and credit cards, or protons used in fuel cells. They also offer lower manufacturing costs and increase battery safety to meet future aerospace application requirements such as planetary orbiters and astronaut equipment.
A new sensor-based fire detector system, developed at Glenn by a team led by Dr. Gary Hunter of the Sensors and Electronics Branch, is so sensitive that it may reduce false alarm rates of commercial airliners. Most fire detector systems sense smoke particles but can be fooled by dust and other tiny airborne particles. The team used MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) expertise to develop a new, multi-sensor system that includes miniaturized carbon dioxide sensors, a smoke particle detector and integrated software to effectively recognize the presence of fire while screening out false alarms. These compact arrays can be placed in multiple locations throughout the aircraft's cargo and baggage compartments. The detector system is adaptable for use on the International Space Station. Glenn researchers teamed with colleagues from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland; The Ohio State University, Columbus; and Makel Engineering, Inc., Chico, Calif., in collaboration with the FAA.
The Glenn Refractory Adhesive for Bonding and Exterior Repair (GRABER) material was considered for the space shuttle Return to Flight program. The material was developed and tested by Dr. Mrityunjay "Jay" Singh and Tarah Shpargel of the QSS Group, Inc. residents of Glenn's Ceramics Branch. The material has shown potential multiuse capabilities for in-space repair of both large repairs and small cracks in the space shuttle reinforced carbon-carbon composite thermal protection system. It has shown excellent plasma performance under simulated reentry conditions in various arcjet testing facilities. It has been tested as an adhesive and sealant in several other repair concepts being explored in NASA's Thermal Protection System Repair Research and Development Program. A number of industrial applications of this material system are being evaluated due to its low cost and excellent adhesive properties. This is Dr. Singh's fourth R&D 100 award.
NESSUS (Numerical Evaluation of Stochastic Structures Under Stress) V8 is a modular computer software system for performing probabilistic analysis of structural/mechanical components and systems such as aerospace and automotive structures, biomechanics, gas turbine engines, geomechanics and rotordynamics. NESSUS V8 combines state-of-the-art probabilistic algorithms with general-purpose numerical analysis methods to compute probabilistic response of engineered systems. Initially developed for NASA by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), San Antonio, Texas, the software system was enhanced by support from Glenn and a number of other organizations. Dr. Shantaram Pai, of Glenn's Structural Mechanics and Dynamics Branch, was responsible for developing the probabilistic heat transfer module integrated in the system. Pai also managed integration of nine other NASA-developed modules into NESSUS enabling analysis of a diverse range of problems.
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