NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 S3.06-8747
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Thermal Control Systems
PROPOSAL TITLE: Asymmetric Conductance Thermoelectric Cooling Modules for Cryogenic Applications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
microVection, Inc.
245 W. Midway Blvd.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 3503
(303) 941-8091

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Geoffrey Campbell
geoff@microvection.com
245 W. Midway Blvd.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 3503
(303) 941-8091

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Geoffrey Campbell
geoff@microvection.com
245 W. Midway Blvd.
Broomfield, CO 80020 - 3503
(303) 941-8091

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 2
End: 3

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Thermal Control Systems is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?
No

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Thermoelectric coolers (TECs) have long been noted for their compact construction, high reliability, and clean, quiet operation, and they are now widely used in consumer products. However, TECs are inefficient devices requiring large electrical currents to provide a refrigerant effect. Even modest improvements in TEC performance would vastly increase the market potential of thermoelectric cooling, expanding its role into maintaining space science instrument components at cryogenic temperatures (<90K), as well as increasing adoption in consumer appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners. microVection has identified a means of improving the efficiencies of TECs with minor design and fabrication changes. This involves shifting the peak temperature location through modification of the conductance in a simple and controlled manner. This was demonstrated first analytically and then by using a small cell of 3 couples (6 legs), and the results showed a significant (~30%) increase in the temperature differential of the cell at no heat load. The simplicity of the concept suggests that it offers a near-term, affordable cooling solution that can take advantage of both advanced materials and reductions in scale to improve temperature differentials by as much as 30%. Conversely, the same temperature differential can be achieved at lower input power levels, or at higher cold-side heat fluxes, with input power being reduced by as much as 60%. The overarching goal of the proposed effort is to bring high-performance thermoelectric cooling technology to a maturity suitable for the space science and commercial marketplaces, and to demonstrate analytically and experimentally that asymmetric conductance TEC designs offer significant advantages over conventional thermoelectric devices. The specific objective of the Phase I is to show that asymmetric conductance thermoelectric devices offer near-term improvements to thermoelectric coolers in high current design scenarios.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Space science instruments require dedicated/localized cooling to meet their stringent requirements. TECs have the advantage of small size, long life, solid state design, and no moving parts or fluid operation. Improving the efficiency of TECs and enabling them to provide the cold temperatures needed by certain types of space science instruments would be an enhancing, or possibly an enabling, technology. Based on the 2015 NASA Technology Roadmap, programs the concept could impact include Explorer, Earth Venture Suborbital, DRM 6 (Crewed to Near Earth Asteroid), DRM 7 (Crewed to Lunar Surface), and DRM 8 & 9 (Crewed to Mars Moons and Mars Surface).

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Thermoelectric coolers (TECs) are used throughout the military, aerospace, electronics, and consumer products industries. Their compact construction, quiet operation, long lifetimes, and lack of moving parts makes them the preferred choice for refrigeration applications. The commercial potential of the laminate TEC device is extremely large, with residential refrigeration alone being a large untapped market. These market segments are dependent on traditional vapor compression technology, which has the disadvantages of weight, noise, moderate reliability, and the use of environmentally-unfriendly refrigerants. Thermoelectric coolers could provide localized cooling (and heating) capability in a lightweight, compact, convenient form factor, characterized by low noise, essentially no maintenance, ease of installation, and no use of environmentally harmful working fluids. In summary, the market potential of the laminate TEC approach is enormous, while offering a significant civic and environmental benefit, as well.

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.)
Active Systems
Analytical Methods
Conversion
Cryogenic/Fluid Systems
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Nonspecified
Prototyping
Simulation & Modeling

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59