NASA STTR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 T9.01-9975
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Rocket Propulsion Testing Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Hydroxyl Tagging Velocimetry for Rocket Plumes

NAME: MetroLaser, Inc. NAME: Vanderbilt University
STREET: 8 Chrysler STREET: 2301 Vanderbilt Place
CITY: Irvine CITY: Nashville
STATE/ZIP: CA  92618 - 2008 STATE/ZIP: TN  37235 - 7749
PHONE: (949) 553-0688 PHONE: (615) 322-3979

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Thomas P Jenkins
8 Chrysler
Irvine, CA 92618 - 2008
(949) 949-0688

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A non-intrusive method for measuring velocities in a rocket exhaust is proposed in a joint effort by MetroLaser and Vanderbilt University. Hydroxyl Tagging Velocimetry (HTV) uses an ultraviolet laser to tag a region of the flow with OH molecules, and interrogates them after a short delay with a second laser to obtain velocity from time-of-flight data. The method relies on the dissociation of H2O molecules naturally present in the flow, and thus requires no seeding. Being an all-optical technique, it is not adversely affected by high temperatures or high dynamic pressures. Analyses and experiments conducted during the Phase I effort demonstrated feasibility by showing that OH tag lifetimes in a simulated rocket exhaust environment were sufficiently long to enable accurate determination of tag displacements corresponding to typical rocket exhaust velocities. The method was demonstrated by measuring velocities in the exhaust gases of a laboratory scale burner at temperatures and chemical compositions representative of a H2/O2 rocket exhaust. Design tradeoff studies predicted that at measurement ranges of 20 to 50 feet the accuracies would be from two to five percent. This proposal outlines a plan to develop a prototype HTV instrument and demonstrate it in a rocket engine exhaust.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA's goals of returning humans to the Moon and sending humans to Mars and beyond present a formidable challenge that will require significant improvements in the efficiency of hardware development programs to stay within the available budget. Current methods for developing hydrogen- and hydrocarbon-fueled engines rely largely on expensive trial-and-error testing. Accurate computer models can significantly reduce the cost of hardware development. However, current models are limited by a lack of experimental data needed for validation. The proposed velocity diagnostic would provide crucial data that is needed for the development, qualification, and acceptance process of present and future computer models.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A successful velocity diagnostic for high-temperature, high-velocity exhaust flows would have broad application across the worldwide aerospace propulsion industry. Military applications include rockets, missiles, scramjets, and turbine engines, as well as new concepts in propulsion such as pulse detonation engines. Commercial applications include the development of new turbofan designs that will require improved diagnostics for achieving increased efficiency. MetroLaser will pursue these military and commercial markets with a commercial version of the Phase II prototype.

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.


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