NASA SBIR 2004 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Revolutionary Flight Concepts
PROPOSAL TITLE:Revolutionary Performance For Ultra Low Reynolds Number Vehicles

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Rolling Hills Research Corporation
420 N. Nash Street
El Segundo ,CA 90245 - 2822
(310) 640 - 8781

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael F Kerho
420 N. Nash Street
El Segundo, CA  90245 -2822
(310) 640 - 8781

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A novel technique for controlling transition from laminar to turbulent flow in very low Reynolds number conditions has been developed. Normally flows with Reynolds numbers in the range of 20,000 to 120,000 are dominated by laminar separation bubbles and are difficult to transition without using very large traditional trip devices, such as distributed roughness. Additionally, these traditional trips are sized for one flow condition and are either not effective at off-design conditions or create a large device drag penalty. RHRC's innovative transition control technology is capable of transitioning flow across a wide range of low Reynolds number conditions without resizing or incurring an off-design performance penalty. The system also produces minimal device drag. The novel transition control technology was shown to reduce trip drag penalties by as much as 35% to 60% when compared to correctly sized traditional trips, and increasing to as much as 190% at off-design conditions. In addition, the system can be implemented without external power. The commercialization potential for the technology is extremely promising, with applications such as micro unmanned air vehicles, high-altitude long-endurance aircraft, Mars exploratory flyers, and propeller systems.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed transition control technology (TCT) has significant potential application in several NASA programs. The TCT system could be fielded in several NASA aircraft unmanned systems, including micro-UAVs, high-altitude long-endurance remotely operated aircraft (HALE-ROA) for reconnaissance, and Mars exploratory aircraft. NASA designers will be eager to exploit the advantages of the current TCT technology in both airfoil designs and propeller systems. The transition control technology will deliver revolutionary performance as compared to traditional designs in a low risk package. The system will be applicable throughout NASA's high altitude unmanned and micro-UAV aviation community.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The commercialization potential is excellent for a robust and reliable low Reynolds number transition control system. Potential customers include the U.S. Military and radio control aircraft hobbyists. The U.S. military has begun to dramatically increase its use of unmanned aircraft. With electronic payloads becoming increasingly smaller, the opportunity for the application of micro-UAVs to military missions will increase. The revolutionary performance offered by the TCT technology for this class of vehicles will make the technology extremely appealing. The hobbyist market, particularly in the area of propellers and airfoils for radio-controlled aircraft, is a prime candidate for use of this technology. Airfoils and propellers designed using RHRC's transition control technology will provide radically enhanced performance. Both commercial suppliers of hobby aircraft and the military micro-UAV community will find the technology extremely appealing, allowing significant commercialization potential.

Form Printed on 08-01-05 13:52