NASA SBIR 2009 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 09-2 X8.01-8258
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Fluid Transfer and Handling
PROPOSAL TITLE: Wrapped-MLI: Thermal Insulation for Cryogenic Piping

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Quest Product Development Corporation
6833 Joyce Street
Arvada, CO 80007 - 7570
(303) 670-5088

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Scott A Dye
6833 Joyce Street
Arvada, CO 80007 - 7570
(303) 670-5088 Extension :12

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
New NASA vehicles (EDS, Orion, landers & orbiting fuel depots) need improved cryogenic propellant transfer & storage for long duration missions. Current cryogen feed line Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) performance is 10X worse per area than tank MLI insulation. Cryogenic piping heat leak is 50 – 80% of cryotank heat leak, and 40 – 50% of LH2 is lost - about 150,000 gallons ($300,000) - during transfer, chill down & ground hold during each STS launch. Quest Product Development, teaming with Ball Aerospace, proposes to continue development of an innovative advanced insulation system, Wrapped MLI, which could provide improved thermal insulation for cryogenic feed lines.

Wrapped MLI (wMLI) is high performance multilayer insulation designed for cryogenic piping that uses Quest's innovative discrete spacer technology to control layer spacing/density and reduce heat leak. The Phase I program successfully proved wMLI feasibility by designing, building and testing a wMLI prototype with a measured heat leak 3.6X lower than spiral-wrapped conventional MLI widely used for piping insulation. A wMLI prototype had a heat leak of 7.3 W/m2, or 27% of the heat leak of conventional MLI (26.7 W/m2).

Modeling estimates the thermal performance of wMLI could be further improved by 3-fold, leading to a heat leak of 0.7 W/m2 (20 layers, 77K to 295K), and even larger advantages over conventional MLI piping insulation.

In a Phase II program we would further develop wMLI technology with custom, molded polymer spacers, and advance the product toward commercialization via a rigorous testing program including developing advanced vacuum insulated pipe for GSE application. wMLI could provide advanced cryogen transfer line insulation and be the basis of a superior Vacuum Insulated Pipe technology.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Improved passive thermal insulation for cryogenic propellant lines is a critical need for new NASA vehicles and orbiting fuel depots, where the heat leak into cryo-feed lines can be 10 to 20% of the overall system heat leak. Wrapped MLI, with a heat leak 3.6X less than conventional MLI, can provide improved piping insulation. Lower heat leak, easier assembly, fewer layers, lower cost and less mass are all desirable features for cryogenic feed line insulation that wMLI might provide.

wMLI technology could create superior vacuum insulated pipe used to transfer cryogens. NASA's launch pads use some 1500' of vacuum jacketed pipe to transfer LH2 and LOX to launch vehicle tanks, losing 40 – 50% of the LH2. Boil off losses from line and tank chill down and heat leak are 150,000 gallons ($300,000) per shuttle launch.

wMLI could be beneficial for:

• Cryogenic propellant piping insulation for NASA vehicles, including EDS, Orion, cryo landers, cryo upper stage launch vehicles, orbiting fuel depots
• Cryogenic piping insulation for Ground Support Equipment for launch facilities, launch vehicles, cryogenic upper stages and LH2 powered aircraft

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
High performance thermal insulation specially designed for pipes and tubing has utility in numerous industrial and commercial cryogenic applications. Insulated cryogenic piping is used for transfers of cryogenic liquid into and from cryogenic dewars for LN2, LHe, LOX, which are widely used in food, research, medical and industrial applications.

There are numerous industrial uses for cryogenic lines and handling equipment. Cryogenic pipes, lines and tubing uses include liquid nitrogen (LN2), liquid oxygen and liquified natural gas (LNG) handling products such as piping, automatic filling equipment, dewar manifolds and gas panels. High performance insulated cryogenic transfer piping is critical to the LNG industry, where heat gain into pipes causes LNG losses from vaporization during liquid transfer.

LN2 equipment is used for industrial or food applications including semiconductor, electronics and aerospace environmental temperature testing, special effects (fogging), biological freezing applications, inerting of food and beverage containers, container pressurization and food freezing.

wMLI could provide superior vacuum insulated pipe insulation for these applications:

• Ground Support Equipment for commercial launch facilities and cryogenic upper stage launch vehicles such as Atlas Centaur and Delta IV upper stage
• Cryogenic fluid handling piping such as Vacuum Insulated Pipe

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.)
Feed System Components
Fluid Storage and Handling
Propellant Storage
Thermal Insulating Materials

Form Generated on 08-06-10 17:29