NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 03.05-9393 (Chron: 000608 )
PROJECT TITLE
Reliability Prediction Model for Large, Reusable Propellant Tanks



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
NASA has defined goals for development of future reusable launch vehicles (RLV). Systems must be reliable with less than 1 flight failure in 10,000 missions with mission cost of 1000 dollars per pound per payload (or less). X-33 propellant tank incidents indicate need for improving state-of-the-art design and/or manufacture of composite storage tanks. Bond integrity has been an issue during development of X-33 prototype tanks and the associated reliability issues could become even more of a concern during fabrication of full-scale RLV tanks. This project will assess the variability influencing factors associated with manufacture of composite "sandwich" bonds and evaluate the feasibility for development of a prediction tool for assessing manufacturing bond reliability for full-scale configurations. The proposed research will develop a probabilistic analysis framework incorporating composite sandwich design methodologies to predict the reliability of the bonds between the face sheet and the core. Models will be developed that relate overall stress, strain, loading and displacement to bond strength integrity. These models will account for such microstructural parameters as adhesive strength, bondline thickness, and face sheet core interaction.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The commercial potential of the probabilistic reliability tool for composite sandwich components is vast. As NASA has a defined goal for development of highly reusable systems with low mission costs. OEMs need tools such as this to fulfill NASA objectives for design and manufacture of very large, reusable, composite propellant tanks. The capability of our proposed software package has an identifiable customer market base in those companies currently engaged in the design of NASA space components. The target customer for our software product is the technical (engineering) marketplace. According to the market research firm Daratech, the total worldwide computer-aided design, manufacturing, and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE) software market is estimated to be 11.1 billion dollars for the year 1999. This market segment has more than doubled in the last 5 years. The automotive and aerospace industries are the largest customers of mechanical CAD/CAE tools, estimated at 40 percent.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Robert Tryon
VEXTEC Corporation
5123 Virginia Way, Suite C-21
Brentwood , TN   37027 - 7519



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
VEXTEC Corporation
5123 Virginia Way, Suite C-21
Brentwood , TN   37027 - 7519