NASA SBIR 2012 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 12-2 H2.01-9448
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: High Speed Compressor for Subcooling Propellants

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Barber-Nichols, Inc.
6325 West 55th
Arvada, CO 80002 - 2707
(303) 421-8111

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jason Preuss
6325 West 55th Ave
Arvada, CO 80002 - 2707
(303) 421-8111

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jeff Shull
6325 West 55th
Arvada, CO 80002 - 2707
(303) 421-8111

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Cryogenic Fluid Management Technologies is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The most promising propellant subcooling systems for LH2 require compression systems that involve development of significant head. The inlet pressure for these systems is typically on the order of 1.4 psia with a discharge pressure requirement above atmospheric pressure. In the past this has required multiple stages of compression by machines operating at high speeds on ball bearings. The bearing life in these machines was at most a few hundred hours. While this is feasible to use for a proof of concept test system, it is not acceptable for the H2 compressors in application at the launch pad. It is desired to replace these grease-packed ball bearings with foil bearings to greatly increase compressor life. Additionally higher speed can eliminate several stages thus reducing complexity and cost of the system. If this technology proves feasible it could finally make densified LH2 propellant a reality for future launch and space applications.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The potential applications for this technology at NASA are widespread. In addition to propellant densification for use in liquid rocket engines at launch, there are also applications that involve long term in-space storage of the propellants to be used on vehicles over months or years. By subcooling the propellant it drastically reduces boil-off of the cryogens over time and thus improves storage life. The applications include on-vehicle propellant storage for long range mission and propellant depots that are planned for space. Liquid cryogenic injection at the foil bearing also makes sense for rocket engine turboumps. This bearing innovation for LOX and LH2 turbopumps could greatly increase life over the ball bearings currently used which will be especially appealing for the long range missions planned for the future.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
There are also numerous applications outside of NASA. Numerous private companies are currently designing and building rockets that use turbopumps. Many of these applications are seeking longer bearing life and would greatly benefit from this technology. Grease-packed ball bearing cryogenic H2 circulators are currently in use for neutron sources and flux reactors at facilities around the world. In each of these applications longer bearing life along with the possibility of attaining even higher speeds are needed. There are also numerous other applications involving cryogenic He expanders and compressors in superconducting magnet cooling and refrigeration that could greatly benefit from this technology.

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.)
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 03-04-14 13:38