NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 A2.09-9940
PROPOSAL TITLE: Embedded Data Acquisition Tools for Rotorcraft Diagnostic Sensors

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Ridgetop Group, Inc.
6595 North Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ 85704 - 5645
(520) 742-3300

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Justin Judkins
6595 North Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ 85704 - 5645
(520) 742-3300

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Ridgetop's innovation addresses the need for improved capabilities for detecting wear in the drive gears inside helicopter gearboxes. Rotorcraft drive trains must withstand enormous pressure while operating continuously in extreme temperature and vibration environments. Captive components, such as planetary and spiral bevel gears, see enormous strain but are not accessible to fixed instrumentation such as a piezoelectric transducer. Thus, it is difficult to directly monitor components that are most susceptible to damage.
Ridgetop has developed an embedded data acquisition module that overcomes these limitations. This innovation is a self-contained data processing unit within a specialized fixture that installs directly inside the hubs of rotating gear parts. From this location, it and detects and transmits high fidelity prognostic data to a fixed transceiver. The sensor is based on MEMS technology and uses innovative circuit designs to capture high bandwidth data and transmit it wirelessly from inside an operational helicopter transmission.
In Phase 2, Ridgetop will build the module and acquisition system, and demonstrate it at the NASA Glenn Rotorcraft transmission testbed. We will provide evidence that the innovation gives superior fidelity by making side-by-side comparisons with current fixed-sensor setup.
Ridgetop will tie in data collection with prognostics and advanced diagnostic approaches, make enhancements, and show an improvement in failure detection horizon times. We will also develop a data interface between the wireless sensor port and a standard HUMS communication bus. Finally, Ridgetop will develop a commercialization path by demonstrating the technology to airframe manufacturers.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Improved vibration sensors will support the Subsonic Rotary Wing thrust of the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program, as well as NASA's IVHM goals for future aircraft, satellites, and similar systems. The proposed technology will significantly help monitor and diagnose harmful vibration effects inherent to flight operation. With strong existing relationships with several NASA sites and a reputation for excellent service and products among the NASA community, Ridgetop anticipates collaboration with NASA SRW testbeds at Glenn Research Center to help optimize the technology through Phase 2 and into actual implementation.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Commercial rotorcraft have been known to suffer significantly from structural and electronic stress as a result of the vibration levels caused by routine flight. The proposed innovation, which will be able to collect and process critical diagnostic data, will be highly advantageous for manufacturers and operators. For manufacturers, the tool will be very useful during field testing as a measurement utility for vibration and accumulated stress. For commercial operators such as Bell Helicopter and Sikorsky, the proposed innovation will be instrumental in the real-time efficient analysis of diagnostic routines critical to safe flights.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (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.)
Data Acquisition and End-to-End-Management
On-Board Computing and Data Management
Portable Data Acquisition or Analysis Tools
Testing Facilities
Testing Requirements and Architectures

Form Generated on 08-06-10 17:29