NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 S3.05-9398
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Balloon Technology, Terrestrial and Planetary
PROPOSAL TITLE: Novel Ultralow-Weight Metal Rubber™ Sensor System for Ultra Long-Duration Scientific Balloons

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nanosonic, Inc.
1485 South Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 5556
(540) 953-1785

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Andrea Hill
ahill@nanosonic.com
1485 South Main Street
Blacksburg, VA 24060 - 5556
(540) 953-1785

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

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
NanoSonic proposes to develop an innovative, ultralow mass density, and non-intrusive sensor system for ultra long duration balloons that will operate in the most extreme environmental conditions. Specifically, the sensors would be integrated onto the load bearing seams and/or outer balloon mesh surface of the pressurized balloon system to accurately and continually measure axial loads. Large axial load forces and wide/extreme temperature ranges (-90oC to >450oC) are typical for planetary balloon missions, therefore a durable, flexible, and thermally stable sensor material. NanoSonic would use its highly flexible, low-modulus Metal RubberTM (MRTM) materials as strain/pressure sensors that are capable of large cyclic deformation without failure. MRTM is a free-standing nanocomposite material produced by the layer-by-layer combination of high performance polymers and electrically-conducting metal nanoparticles that provide durability and recoverability for sensor transduction, and a wide thermal operation range. Importantly, MRTM can behave like a rubber band in that it can be folded and compressed for stowage and then can be deployed and continually pressurized and stretched without failure during operation. Also, because of the very low amount of metallic nanoclusters in the system (<0.02 volume %), the sensor system is extremely low-weight and would not alter the performance of the balloon.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
In the near future, NASA plans to use light-weight and lower cost terrestrial and planetary superpressure vehicles for space exploration and to conduct scientific studies to gather important information about the universe and atmosphere. Incorporating nanostructured sensor materials into/onto the balloon itself will provide for the means to push the limits beyond current capabilities and would also allow for more reliable flight missions. Nanostructured Metal RubberTM sensors that do not alter or impair the mass-density or modulus of the balloon membrane would provide the ability to measure and monitor the axial pressure that is exerted during a mission. There is much commercial potential for low-weight high strain sensors for scientific balloons and similar inflatable systems, specifically for NASA and the aerospace industry. NanoSonic's low modulus Metal RubberTM sensor plies and multi-element sensor arrays have unique applications in systems where strain is large and conventional stress and strain sensors mechanically fail.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There is a large market for low-weight high strain sensors for scientific balloons and similar inflatable systems, specifically for NASA and the aircraft industry. NanoSonic's low modulus Metal RubberTM sensor plies and multi-element sensor arrays have unique applications in systems where strain is large and conventional stress and strain sensors mechanically fail. Such applications include flexible sensing garments for combatants, emergency first responders and astronauts, high altitude lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicles, deployable space habitats and structures, and deep submergence structures. Due to Metal RubberTM's low modulus and high electrical conductivity, it may also be used in high performance, highly flexible and mechanically robust electronic flex circuits, flexible displays and smart electronic fabrics, and as a replacement for conventional lead-based solder.

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.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Airframe
Composites
Erectable
Inflatable
Kinematic-Deployable
Launch and Flight Vehicle
Metallics
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
On-Board Computing and Data Management
Sensor Webs/Distributed Sensors
Spaceport Infrastructure and Safety
Structural Modeling and Tools
Telemetry, Tracking and Control


Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56