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Space Launch System Advanced Development Academic Partners
Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.
High Electric Density Device for Aerospace Applications

The grant will develop an energy storage device database, as well as test the most applicable devices in relevant aerospace environments for the Space Launch System. One noteworthy attribute is that the effort provides a database that effectively extends the current state-of-knowledge and is conducive to maintaining a "living," dynamic document easily capable of expanding as next generation technologies emerge. Of particular importance is the offering of extensive information that can be utilized as an effective tool for rapidly trading device options for optimizing system designs, which will lead to higher performance systems and improve affordability.

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge
Challenges Towards Improved Friction Stir Welds Using On-line Sensing of Weld Quality

The grant will develop in-process and post-process methods and non-destructive evaluation techniques to improve the prediction of friction-stir weld defects and overall joint quality. Of particular importance is the thoroughness and clear understanding of the present state-of-knowledge to enable the best possible approach for assessing all critical factors and variables. Key attributes include the development of a visual real-time method for immediate assessment of weld quality, which will reduce inspection time, cost, and improve confidence and assurance in the weld; and the use of an environmentally friendly surface treatment process to improve corrosion resistance and improve surface stress and defects, which will also improve weld quality and promote safety. Advancing various manufacturing techniques, including friction-stir welding, will have cost and performance benefits for the next generation of SLS launch vehicles.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge
A New Modeling Approach for Rotating Cavitation Instabilities in Rocket Engine Turbopumps

The grant will develop an approach for modeling rotating cavitation instabilities in turbopump inducers, as well as explore and develop new inducer and casing treatment designs to mitigate rotating cavitation. Noteworthy is the in-house capability to fabricate new turbomachinery designs, which reduces development time and improves part reliability and traceability. Of particular importance is utilizing a physics-based modeling technique to better understand cavitation phenomena and lead to innovative and higher fidelity designs that mitigate such issues, while also potentially improving performance and reliability by eliminating high cycle fatigue. These results will represent a great advancement in the ability to model cavitation-induced environments in cryogenic engine pumps.

Mississippi State University in Starkville
"Algorithmic Enhancements for High-Resolution Hybrid RANS-LES Using Loci-CHEM."

The grant will develop, implement, and validate multiple analytical methods and turbulence modeling capabilities to enhance the Loci-CHEM code. Noteworthy is the modular approach to implementing the Loci-CHEM upgrades, which will reduce development risk and assure reliable deliverables, and also the ability to easily leverage critical experience and expertise for a reliable integration of the upgrades into the Loci framework. Of particular importance is the innovation behind the upgrades that enables extension of the validation range of computation fluid dynamics simulations for Loci-CHEM, and thus extends the current state-of-the-art. This will result in a much better understanding of the fluid environment and reduce risk in order to improve performance through increased design fidelity.

Pennsylvania State University in College Park
Characterization of Aluminum/Alumina/Carbon Interactions under Simulated Rocket Motor Conditions.

This grant will characterize and study aluminum/alumina/carbon reactions that may be active in a solid rocket motor, or SRM, environment and on nozzle and insulation materials. Of particular importance is that Penn State offers a multi-faceted approach that is highly flexible and effective by utilizing various on-site dynamic testing capabilities to validate the modeling approach for the reactions of interest. The overall approach is very extensive and yields a comprehensive and valuable data set, and it greatly improves understanding of the SRM reactions over a wide range of operating conditions. This will improve analysis capabilities and allow for smaller design margins and fewer operation anomalies, which will result in greater vehicle performance and reduced costs.

University of Florida in Gainesville
Development of Subcritical Atomization Models in the Loci Framework for Liquid Rocket Injectors

This grant will develop subcritical atomization models in unsteady flow conditions for liquid engines to enhance the Loci family of codes. Of particular importance is that it offers an innovative upgrade to the Loci codes that enables the use of computational fluid dynamic, or CFD, tools for transient simulations of engine combustion chambers, including the simulation of combustion instabilities, which is something that has yet to be achieved with a CFD tool and would represent an important advancement beyond the current state-of-practice. This new level of modeling fidelity would greatly improve engine system performance and reliability, while also reducing the amount of testing required to improve affordability.

The University of Maryland in College Park
Validation of Supersonic Film Cooling Numerical Simulations Using Detailed Measurements and Novel Diagnostics

The grant will develop supersonic film cooling data to validate analytical models for enhancing the Loci-CHEM code. Currently, film-cooling data is limited with a certain level of uncertainty, and therefore it would be an important advancement over the current capabilities to enhance the predictive modeling accuracy and fidelity of the Loci-CHEM code for film cooling flow fields. In addition to the improved performance, due to this improved fidelity, it would also drive a reduction in experimental testing and engineering costs to improve affordability.

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
Advanced LES and Laser Diagnostics to Model Transient Combustion-Dynamical Processes in Rocket Engines: Prediction of Flame Stabilization and Combustion-Instabilities

The grant will develop an analytical tool to improve modeling accuracy of unstable and combustion-dynamical processes for an enhanced Loci-STREAM code. Noteworthy is that the approach considers a wide range of fuels and provides a comprehensive database, which is currently not available and will be a vital tool for validating future models. Of particular importance is that it enables the computation of complex flame characteristics of injectors while also acquiring numerous types of high fidelity data, such as pressure, heat flux, and velocity, at relevant full-scale engine conditions. The ability to acquire full-scale engine data would reduce testing costs and improve affordability for the next generation of vehicles.

University of Utah in Salt Lake City
Acoustic Emission-Based Health Monitoring of Space Launch System Structures

The grant will develop a structural health monitoring system based on an acoustic emission to locate and classify types of impact damage to composite structures. Key attributes of the work effort include the ability to leverage relevant experience and expertise from work performed with the structural health monitoring system of Boeing's 787 aircraft, which will have direct benefits and applications to this proposed work. Also, by the approach focusing on "detectable" rather than "visible" damage, it allows for conservatism to be removed from the design cycle and simplifies the inspection process. Of particular importance is being able to design composite structures to withstand barely detectable damage, which will lower inspection and processing costs, increase their reliability, and make composite structures much more attractive for use on the Space Launch System and other future launch vehicles.

Media Contacts:

Joshua Buck, 202-358-1100
Headquarters, Washington

Kim Henry, 256-544-0034
Marshall Space Flight Center