NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 X6.02-8294
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Low Temperature Mechanisms
PROPOSAL TITLE: Cryogenic Rotary Piezoelectric Motor

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dynamic Structures and Materials, LLC
205 Williamson Square
Franklin, TN 37064 - 1321
(615) 595-6665

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jeffrey Paine
205 Williamson Square
Franklin, TN 37064 - 1321
(615) 595-6665

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4 to 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Piezoelectric motors operate on the principal of converting the high-frequency oscillation of high-force, precision ceramic elements into useful continuous motion. High-power oscillations are converted to rotary motion through novel transmission mechanisms to produce high-torque, precision motion. Dynamic Structures and Materials (DSM) focused the Phase I innovation on the development and design of a precision rotary motor mechanism that employs piezoelectric oscillatory power and produces rotary motion for operation at cryogenic and extreme environments. The successful design of a high-torque prototype mechanism and the subsequent Phase I demonstration of the prototype under vacuum conditions lays the groundwork for the technology to reach product status and commercialization success in both NASA and non-NASA applications. Phase II efforts will refine the innovation with additional focus on developing the fundamental understanding of rotary piezoelectric motor design and implementation. The Phase II prototypes will be fully characterized over a temperature range of approximately 25K to 400 K in hard vacuum. The construction materials of this type of mechanism are inherently vacuum compatible and will be selected to provide very low or no outgassing. DSM has already demonstrated operation of its high-force linear piezoelectric motors for environments as low as 77 K.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The solid-state, vacuum-compatible nature of piezoelectric mechanisms lends itself well to the environmental conditions of lunar and Martian applications. In addition to the lunar and Martian surface applications discussed in the solicitation topic, a number of cryogenic space vehicle propulsion systems currently rely on large and heavy electromagnetic or pneumatic actuators, most of which are linear actuators driving a rack and pinion to provide rotary motion. The proposed technology would enable a reduced geometry and mass relative to these traditional technologies. The piezoelectric rotary motor technology is proposed for applications in the area of precision instruments, rover control, operational equipment, and space mechanisms.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Terrestrial applications are continuously looking for new rotary actuators, and the proposed concept's advantages in size and weight will make the piezo motor technology a competitive player in the rotary actuator market.

DSM has been approached in the past by researchers interested in new rotary actuators for platforms related to robotic battlefield medical equipment. In addition, DSM has been introduced to a variety of applications requiring optical adjustments that could benefit from the characteristics of the rotary piezo motor including the power off hold feature for "set-and-forget" adjustments. All-electric vehicles and platforms looking to eliminate pneumatic and hydraulic actuation technologies will benefit from the piezoelectric actuator technology.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Multifunctional/Smart Materials

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