NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 12.02-1105

PROJECT TITLE : A Compact LWC and Drop Sizing Instrument for RPA and Tethered Balloons

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Small, lightweight instruments that can be autonomously operated on remotely piloted vehicles and tethered balloons are needed for reliable, long-duration measurements of cloud properties. Under DoD Army SBIR funding, SPEC recently developed a new optical instrument which makes reliable measurements of cloud liquid water content and drop size spectra from 2 - 200 (m in diameter. The new instrument, called an automatic cloud spectrometer (ACS), was tested under severe icing conditions at the Mt. Washington Observatory. The ACS makes reliable, autonomous measurements for extended periods. An airborne version of the probe, called a cloud drop spectrometer (CDS), was also tested on a research aircraft and measurements of liquid water content and drop size spectra compared very well with theoretical values in adiabatic cloud parcels. In Phase I, we propose to investigate new technologies for drastically reducing the size, weight and power consumption of the CDS. In particular, the mechanical components will be molded from carbon fiber composites, glass lenses will be replaced with plastic and dedicated, surface-mount electronics with digital signal processors will replace the existing computer. In Phase II, we will build a prototype instrument and flight test it on a research aircraft and a tethered balloon.
POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
A compact, lightweight instrument that can be used on a remotely piloted vehicle or tethered balloon for long-duration measurements of cloud properties will be valuable for several military and government programs (e.g., DOE GAtmospheric Radiation Program, the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) and others). In Industry, the device has enormous potential for measuring combustible fuel, agricultural and paint sprays.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
R. Paul Lawson, Ph.D.
SPEC, Inc.
5401 Western Avenue, Suite B
Boulder, CO 80301
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR
SPEC, Inc.
5401 Western Avenue, Suite B
Boulder, CO 80301