NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 A2.02-9318
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Combustion for Aerospace Vehicles
PROPOSAL TITLE: An Ultra-Sensitive, Size Resolved Particle Mass Measurement Device

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aerodyne Research, Inc.
45 Manning Rd
Billerica, MA 01821 - 3976
(978) 663-9500

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Michael Timko
45 Manning Rd
Billerica, MA 01821 - 3976
(978) 663-9500

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The characterization of aircraft particulate matter (PM) emissions has benefited greatly by the Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) by providing size resolved compositional information. AMS data have been critical to much of our understanding of aircraft PM emissions, but it has limited utility in probing the smallest (<100 nm) particles in the exhaust. Also, to date the AMS has been able to detect only volatile PM and other instruments have been required to characterize the non-volatile (soot). We propose to improve greatly the capabilities of a novel version of the AMS to cover two important gaps in our understanding of gas turbine engine particle emissions: 1) size resolved composition of particles with diameters less than 50 nm; 2) size resolved mass and chemical composition (e.g., fullerenic composition) of black carbon soot. Specifically in Phase I, we aim to: 1) improve AMS detection of particles smaller than 100 nm by refining an existing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model and use the CFD model to guide the design of new AMS particle focusing designs, and 2) evaluate for model soot characterization a newly developed instrument which combines a laser ablation system with AMS technology – an instrument which we have termed the SP2-AMS.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA provides substantial potential commercial applications for an improved AMS technology. NASA has a long-term commitment to understand and reduce the trace gas and particle emissions of gas turbine engines. The current lack of robust composition information for nucleation particles smaller than 50 nm and the lack of direct, size-resolved mass measurements of soot limit current understanding. We expect that NASA will be eager to take advantage of the advanced lens and laser ablation technologies that we will develop during this SBIR program. NASA provides at least two types of commercial opportunities for advanced AMS technology: 1) direct instrument sales and 2) research contract jobs. At this time, NASA has not purchased an AMS for its own use. An improved lens technology and soot detection capability may provide the motivation for NASA to purchase an AMS. Due in part to the unique insight provided by the standard AMS, we have been an active participant in a series of NASA sponsored PM measurement activities, including the APEX experiments. Enhanced AMS technology will continue to make us an attractive NASA contractor for future measurement activities.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The general commercial applications of the improved AMS technology are extensive. Engine manufacturers are currently seeking reliable methods that directly measure the mass of soot emissions; we anticipate strong interest from enigne manufacturers in the SP2-AMS technology, either for direct sales or for contracting opportunities. US EPA and DOE have long-term commitments to understanding and reducing PM emissions and they are potential customers. The chemical content of the SP2-AMS data set may differentiate aircraft soot from other sources. The ability to distinguish aviation PM from other combustion sources would be of great interest to FAA and the airport community; their support will provide ample research contract opportunities. Optimization of the aerodynamic lens technology for particles smaller than 100 nm will also enhance our field measurement capabilities and provide new opportunities in our emissions characterization business. The new lens will also increase new sales of AMS technology and will be a stand-alone product for existing AMS owners. Over the past 5 years, we have sold over 60 instruments to customers in industry, academia, and government laboratories. Improved understanding of the lens performance may provide insight necessary to expand the range of particles detected by the AMS, which in turn will open new applications in pharmaceutical characterization and related fields.

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.

Particle and Fields

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