NASA STTR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-T5.01-9937 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 030063)
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE:Advanced Crew Support Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE:Engineered Multifunction Surfaces for Fluid Handling

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC): RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):
NAME: Orbital Technologies Corp NAME:University of Wisconsin-Madison, Research & Sponsored Programs
ADDRESS:Space Center, 1212 Fourier Drive ADDRESS:750 University Ave 4th Floor
CITY:Madison CITY:Madison
STATE/ZIP:WI  53717-1961 STATE/ZIP:WI  53706-1490
PHONE: (608) 827-5000 PHONE: (608) 262-3822

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name,Email)
Peter L Kostka
kostkap@orbitec.com
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
The goal of this proposal is to investigate the applicability of recent advances in plasma manufacturing and material treatment to NASA advanced life support systems. In particular we wish to examine surface treatment, material deposition, and the use of low pressure and atmospheric pressure plasma reactors as methods of creating single-piece multi-function fluid handling surfaces. Phase I will determine the feasibility of modifying existing plasma processes to develop a number of different functionalities directly onto an aluminum or ceramic surface. Plasma deposition techniques will be used to create a hydrophilic and bactericidal surface. Etching and deposition will be used to create temperature sensors directly on a surface. Further investigation of deposition techniques will examine the feasibility of depositing thermoelectric (Pelltier) materials onto surfaces. Finally, a resource utilization analysis will be performed to determine the relative merits of creating an atmospheric pressure plasma reactor directly on a thin surface for the purpose of water purification.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Initial MFS applications include engineered plant growth surfaces, with active monitoring of temperature and local moisture level. Aspects of the technology would allow for more efficient heat exchangers and low cost dew point sensing. Capillary surfaces combined with thermoelectric materials would allow local temperature control of plant root zones and the development of more efficient humidity control surfaces. Further applications include a single piece humidity pump capable of being built into enclosure walls or EVA suits. Finally, plasma reactors and silver coated surfaces incorporated into fluid handling surfaces could create a low cost, and highly effective method for water purification.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
Plasma-aided manufacturing has the potential to provide highly reliable parts at low cost. As a result, products originally designed for NASA use could be marketed to terrestrial commercial customers. Advanced plant rooting matrices could be used by commercial growers of exotic plants, dew point sensors could be sold to the HVAC and horticulture industries, while humidity and temperature controllers could be first sold to manufacturers of scientific controlled environment chambers and later to makers of electronics packaging. Long-term applications of the technology could extend to waste treatment, chemical analysis and the manufacture of MEMS devices.