Header Banner

Electro-Thermal Actuation Control for Unlocking Memory Metal Power Generation & Energy Conversion

PM: Scott Jensen
Fiscal Year: 2016
Status: Completed
Illustration of the practical Nitinol flow concept>
Memory metals can now actively drive power generators with several pounds of force through small 100 ┬Ám actuation wires similar to a hair with very small masses. The use of Electrostatic Fluid Acceleration (EFA) techniques on the small mass allows rapid thermal exchange to occur permitting around 6000 rpm cyclic rates to be achievable. This project accomplished a technological breakthrough by driving cyclic actuation by alternating thermal exchange solely through EFA. This has opened the possibility to construct memory metal generators unlike any other technologies. The results indicate that it is possible to generate power from modest thermal sources with a very lightweight table top sized nitinol generator functioning at efficiencies higher than 50%.

Electrostatic fluid acceleration flow concept

Investigation of Environmental Impact Discharge of Elevated Temperature Water into SSC's Canal System

PM: Jody Woods
Fiscal Year: 2016
Status: Completed
Water Temperatures on discharge location depth profile at 480s into 3600s discharge
The cooling water system for a proposed Total Containment Thermal Propulsion (TCTP) Ground Test Facility at the Stennis Space Center (SSC) operates by pumping water from the SSC canal via the High Pressure Industrial Water Facility, passing it through the TCTP facility, and then discharging it back into the canal. This project assessed possible thermal and contaminant pollution of canal waters resulting from operation of the TCTP facility. This study determined:
  1. The operation of the TCTP facility will not introduce any contaminants into the SSC canal water. Thus the composition of SSC canal water adjacent to the SSC lock, dam and spillway will not be affected.
  2. While the operation of the TCTP facility will increase SSC canal water temperatures locally around the cooling water discharge for a short time during and after a rocket engine test, the temperature of water adjacent to the SSC lock, dam and spillway will not be affected.

Water Temperatures on discharge location depth profile at 480s into 3600s discharge

Gas House Autonomous System Monitoring

PM: Fernando Figueroa
Fiscal Year: 2016
Status: Completed
Functional Software Architecture for Intelligent Integrated Autonomy
In complex and critical NASA systems, such as test and launch facilities, and space systems, accurate and timely understanding of their condition and readiness is paramount. Anomalies must be identified and diagnosed, and the integrity of each element (sensor, transducers, and components) must be assured. This project implemented autonomous monitoring utilizing a paradigm that enables reasoning and decision making using the concepts, and models that employ them. The core theory for the approach to autonomy was defined. In addition, requirements for software platforms that may support this approach were identified. The approach was demonstrated using the NASA Platform for Autonomous Systems (NPAS).

Functional Software Architecture for Intelligent Integrated Autonomy

Investigation of Radionuclide Filtering Technology for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Engine Testing

PM: Glen Guzik
Fiscal Year: 2016
Status: Completed
Hydrogen Flow Scrubber
This project identified options for the removal of radionuclides from the exhaust of a nuclear thermal propulsion rocket engine so that it can be safely flared to the atmosphere. Existing nuclear industry certified filtration options were examined and their capability is assessed against the requirements for NTP engine ground test exhaust scrubbing. A cost estimate and a system footprint for the filtration system were specified and recommendations were made for further technology development.

An elutant at room temperature can be flowed through the main trap to transport captured radionuclides to the liquid nitrogen cooled trap. The elution process is then repeated at a higher pressure. After the radioactive waste is consolidated into a small volume, the smallest trap can be disconnected from the system for further processing and disposal.

The Pure Aqua Inc. reverse osmosis system is an example of a commercially available filter that might be used

Investigation of Environmental Requirements and Regulations for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

PM: Richard Rauch
Fiscal Year: 2016
Status: Completed
Total Containment System
This project focused on developing a compliance "roadmap" for environmental requirements and regulations applicable to constructing and operating an nuclear thermal propulsion ground test facility at SSC. This includes compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and NASA requirements. This roadmap identifies the steps required to achieve environmental compliance, and given that nuclear and environmental regulatory compliance are closely intertwined, the roadmap directly supports the nuclear regulatory site licensing process as defined by NRC regulations and the Code of Federal Regulations.

Total Containment System

Augmented Control of Supersonic Diffuser Boundary Layer Separation

PM: Danny Allgood
Fiscal Year: 2016
Status: Completed
CFD Model depicting Boundary Layer Separation
Boundary layer separation within supersonic diffusers can produce intense heating and vibratory loading. The design and construction of robust systems that are able to withstand such extreme environments can be both difficult and expensive. Currently, multi-stage steam ejectors are utilized in industry to reduce boundary layer separation by decreasing the effective backpressure. However, this solution is costly to construct, operate, and maintain throughout its life cycle. This project investigated an array of alternate control solutions that could potentially reduce the cost and complexity associated with altitude liquid rocket engine testing. The project evaluated the feasibility of active and passive methods of boundary layer control using validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methodologies.

CFD Model depicting Boundary Layer Separation

facebook link youtube link twitter link instagram link linkedin link