San Diego, CA, United States

ATA Engineering, Inc.

www.ata-e.com
San Diego, CA, United States

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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.97K | Year: 2016

Current approaches for resolving rotorcraft fuselage responses in the presence of aerodynamic/structural excitation require ample conservatism because current CFD-based aeromechanic solutions lack the capability to include detailed elastic fuselage models. Instead, a siloed approach is employed where results of one analysis are replayed into another. A particular limitation of the siloed method is its inability to capture rotor wake impingement, which has resulted in empennage buffet problems not being encountered until flight testing of a new design. To provide a fully integrated aeroelastic simulation capability for complete vertical lift configurations that will overcome these limitations, ATA Engineering, Inc. (ATA) proposes the development of a novel simulation coupling methodology. The proposed project will develop a three-code coupling (comprehensive rotor, fluid, and structural dynamics) framework and leverage existing and emerging computational technologies for integrating disparate solution strategies of each domain. The methodology, which will accommodate both loose and tight rotor coupling schemes, will ultimately be integrated in the DoD CREATE HELIOS framework. In Phase I, ATA will develop data communication utilities to couple simulation codes widely used in industry. The utilities will be extended to a robust software product in Phase II and used to simulate a real world rotorcraft aeroelastity problem.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.75K | Year: 2016

NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate has declared ultra-efficient commercial air vehicles a strategic area for development in the coming decade. With no foreseeable alternatives, advanced gas turbine propulsion will continue to power future subsonic transport aircraft. As a result, engine manufacturers are devoting significant effort to increasing fuel efficiency and pushing engines toward higher fan bypass ratios (BPRs). With fan speed already limiting allowable fan sizes, higher BPR requires new, smaller engine cores. However, component efficiency tends to decrease with decreasing size due in part to enhanced tip leakage and secondary flows. Many of the existing technologies designed to mitigate losses associated with these flow structures have only been investigated in conventional machines, under steady approximations, and/or in single components or stages. Also, they often address only a particular loss mechanism in a given flow structure. The proposed SBIR project innovates on existing mitigation strategies from a practical, holistic perspective to generate novel aerodynamic devices tailored to improve the efficiency of multi-stage, small-core turbines while also accounting for their inherently unsteady nature. The proposed devices, including tip leakage control and endwall treatments for secondary flow control, will be designed by accounting for each loss mechanism in the targeted flow structure and the device's influence on the unsteady flow field in the current stage and upstream and downstream stages. Successful designs will ensure increases in component efficiency also increase engine overall efficiency by avoiding offsetting reduction in loss in one stage with increased loss in another. In Phase I, numerical simulations will be used to devise and characterize feasible loss mitigation technologies. This foundational work will provide justification for comprehensive analysis and experimental evaluation of the most promising concepts in Phase II.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 676.81K | Year: 2015

ATA Engineering, Inc. proposes a project to extend an existing technology for calibration of strain sensors on-board the F/A-18 fighter aircraft. These sensors, typically installed at production, are used to measure and track the loads experienced during the service life of an individual aircraft and, in doing so, evaluate the current structural health of that aircraft. However, small discrepancies in sensor installation and aircraft build can lead to nontrivial inaccuracy in the predicted remaining fatigue life, requiring either potentially unwarranted conservatism or unnecessary risk in the calculation. ATA's strain sensor calibration system (SSCS) technology provides ground-based calibration of these sensors in lieu of intensive full-scale rig calibration and potentially inaccurate flight-based calibration. ATA seeks to advance the technology to TRL 8, by adapting the system design from a prototype to a production system by incorporating further ruggedization, addressing applicable equipment standards, evaluating use of the system by Navy artisans, assessing implementation across the F/A-18E/F and EA-18G aircraft fleets, and incorporating lessons learned in the initial development program.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.80K | Year: 2015

Large, lightweight, deployable solar array structures have been identified as a key enabling technology for NASA with analysis and design of these structures being the top challenge in meeting the overall goals of the NASA Space Technology Roadmap. Deployment ground testing of these structures is a uniquely difficult task as the intent is to validate 0g performance and integrity in a 1g testing environment. Existing gravity offloading test support equipment use passive offloading in which offloader tracking is driven by the deployment of the array itself. This approach introduces strong coupling between the test article and the offloader equipment, which affects deployment dynamics and hence accuracy of the simulated 0g response. ATA Engineering proposes to improve existing gravity offloader equipment through the development of an actively controlled system that minimizes the mechanical coupling between the test array and the offloader system. This active system will make use of position sensors to provide data for necessary corrective action as well as analytical models of the offloader and test article to provide predictive capabilities. When paired with actuators on the offloader system, the combined predictor-corrector system will substantially improve ground test 0g simulations. Phase I of this SBIR project will demonstrate increased realism of 0g test conditions by producing demonstration hardware that incorporates the suite of sensors and actuators with an analytical model of the offloader system. In Phase II, an active offloader system will be designed, built, and used to test a state-of-the-art solar array system.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.76K | Year: 2014

Large, lightweight, deployable solar array structures have been identified as a key enabling technology for NASA with analysis and design of these structures being the top challenge in meeting the overall goals of the NASA Space Technology Roadmap. The use of analysis to drive design from an early stage is critical to their success, yet conflicting design requirements and demanding space constraints make traditional design/build/test methods challenging and expensive. The proposed SBIR program focuses on overcoming this through the development of a user-friendly multi-disciplinary design and analysis software toolkit that can rapidly perform parametric studies and design optimization of solar array concepts. The software package will provide a graphical user interface and analysis procedures to evaluate critical performance metrics, while eliminating the unnecessary pre-processing and computational overhead associated with current approaches. Analysis capabilities will include flexible multi-body dynamics, array deployment, modal analysis, and response simulation. Model creation will be simplified through the use of an extensible, hierarchical blockset solution and a library of blocks specific to deployable solar array analysis. The Phase II effort will focus on the development of advanced analysis and design capabilities and further validation of the tool through test-correlated modeling of a state-of-the-art solar array system.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.98K | Year: 2015

ATA Engineering, Inc. proposes an STTR program to develop innovative tools and methods that will significantly improve the accuracy of random vibration response predictions for aerospace structures under critical inhomogeneous aeroacoustic loads. This will allow more accurate predictions of structural responses to be made, potentially reducing vehicle weight and cost and improving the reliability of these structures. Empirical wind tunnel test data will be used as a basis to develop novel methods to characterize the surface fluctuating pressures encountered by launch vehicles during ascent, and then to accurately predict the random vibration environment caused by these loads. In Phase II, we will perform a wind tunnel test campaign at the University of Mississippi to measure both the surface fluctuating pressure and the resulting vibration in a flexible panel positioned on an expansion corner. The data from these tests will be used to develop more accurate models to predict the auto- and cross-spectra of surface fluctuating pressures during ascent, followed by the development of coupling models to predict the resulting spacecraft structural vibrations. A critical improvement over current methods will be the inclusion of a statistical basis which will enable prediction of both mean and maximum expected environments. The experimental data in Phase II can also be used as a source of validation for unsteady coupled fluid-structural dynamics simulations.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.82K | Year: 2010

The proposed Phase II SBIR development effort will deliver a multiphysics coupled analysis simulation method for hypersonic vehicle structures. The physics simulation capability will consist of a set of coupled software tools used to model the response of hypersonic vehicle structures in extreme aero-thermal environments, at both the global level of the full flight vehicle and the local level of critically-loaded vehicle skin panel(s). For both cases, a hypersonic computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code will be integrated with a nonlinear computational structural dynamics (NLCSD) code in a fully coupled, fluid-structure interaction form. At the global vehicle level, the coupled analysis method will simulate the quasi-static deformation of the vehicle to aero-thermal loads along a given trajectory and identify hot-spots and panels exposed to locally extreme aero-acoustic loads. At the local level, it will simulate the time-accurate response of a skin panel subject to extreme environments to predict stresses and the onset of snap-through and/or flutter. The new coupled multiphysics capability will be validated against available test data for panels subjected to hypersonic flight loads. The final deliverable will be a documented methodology which can be accessed by the Air Force and its contractors as a combination commercial and open-source software. BENEFIT: A key outcome of the Phase II program will be a quantitative evaluation of structural design based on coupled multiphysics versus current design methods limited to uncoupled/bounding methods. This will allow future designers to identify whether hypersonic structural design is overly conservative or not, when coupled physics are ignored. Applications in the DoD market include the design/development of weight-efficient military hypersonic vehicles, scram jet and related propulsion systems for hypersonic vehicles, and stealth aircraft with ducted exhaust. In commercial markets, a coupled fluid-thermal-structural design tool would have application to space flight vehicles and sub-orbital aero-space planes. Non-aerospace applications include nuclear engineering and related energy industry applications.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.55K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT: Hypersonic flight conditions subject the vehicle to extreme environments that induce severe thermal gradients and generate intense spatial and time varying pressures. Existing methodologies for analyzing the high-performance materials required to operate in these environments are typically linear elastic solutions that do not capture the highly non-linear response and failure progression seen from these materials. ATA Engineering proposes development of a material modeling toolset, implemented as an add-on to commercial CAE software, that will determine material performance parameters (e.g., strength, stiffness) under complex thermomechanical loading. The toolset will combine an efficient means for finite element modeling of ceramic matrix composites, advanced regression algorithms to determine constituent material properties from limited test data, and progressive-failure Monte Carlo simulation in an intuitive user interface. The toolset will include a means for multiscale analysis that will communicate information about local material damage to and from a full vehicle simulation. In Phase I, we will develop analytic models representative of materials used on previous high speed vehicles and validate their predictive accuracy against existing material test data. In Phase II, we will perform a experimental campaign for verification and validation and will incorporate the tool into a comprehensive multiphysics simulation framework for hypersonic vehicles. BENEFIT: The technologies developed in this project will aid the design of the next generation of hypersonic vehicles by reducing risk and uncertainty. The toolset will allow designers to incorporate progressive material failure models with structural, aerodynamic, thermal, and other physical models to provide a more holistic and accurate understanding of vehicle state-of-structure throughout the mission trajectory. Through a multi-scale approach, the analytic tool will allow investigation of local material damage progression in the context of a full vehicle simulation without greatly increasing solution time . Commercial applications extend beyond hypersonic vehicles to gas turbine engine components, spacecraft reentry systems, automotive and other systems utilizing advanced composite materials.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.95K | Year: 2016

Vehicle reentry presents numerous challenges that must be carefully addressed to ensure the success of current and future space exploration missions. As they enter the atmosphere, these vehicles are subjected to extreme hypersonic environments typified by large structural loads, high heat fluxes and temperatures, and an aggressive aerothermal environment where nonequilibrium dissociated gases may cause chemical ablation at the vehicle's surface. These hypersonic flows involve highly nonlinear fluid-thermal interactions such as very strong shocks, high aeroheating, and shock boundary layer interactions. The extreme environments result in nonlinear, coupled interactions between the vehicle's structure and the environment. Traditionally, designs of reentry vehicles and their components have been analyzed by different engineering disciplines in an uncoupled manner, leading to a simplified superposition of different independent analyses. Depending on the assumptions, this can potentially lead to overconservatism or omission of multiphysics phenomena such as the deformation of structural skin panels which alters the local flow field and results in higher aerodynamic and heat loading. To alleviate these problems, ATA Engineering proposes to develop an innovative approach utilizing an existing multiphysics framework that enables a more complete simulation of the aeroheating environment throughout the flight trajectory in the continuum regime is proposed. In Phase I, we will demonstrate feasibility of solving these problems in ATA's multiphysics simulation environment by coupling CHAR (a 3D, implicit charring ablator solver), Loci/CHEM (a computational fluid dynamics solver for highspeed chemically reacting flows), and Abaqus (a commercial nonlinear structural dynamics package) to create a fully coupled aerothermoelastic charring ablative solver. Phase II will involve enhancements to enable full trajectory simulation and tool validation with experimental data.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.83K | Year: 2016

ATA Engineering, Inc., (ATA) proposes an SBIR project to advance the technology readiness level (TRL) of a method for measuring phased array acoustic data for complex distributed noise sources using continuously moving (referred to here as continuous-scan, or CS) microphones in conjunction with state-of-the-art phase-referencing techniques. The proposed project aims to develop two novel modules to the existing suite of tools for CS acoustic measurements: (1) A continuous-scan beamforming (CSBF) tool for arrays located in the mid to far field to perform source diagnostics in low-SNR wind tunnel environments., and (2) An azimuthal modal decomposition tool for near-field arrays having partial azimuthal coverage, enabling acoustical holography without full source enclosure. The first module will enable small-aperture beamforming (BF) arrays to adopt the CS method, resulting in reduced maximum sidelobe levels and higher-quality BF images that approach the theoretical limits associated with the theory. The second module will enable CS near-field arrays that avoid the requirement for full coverage, greatly simplifying the array coverage requirements and making acoustical holography systems more practical in testing facilities. In Phase I, ATA will demonstrate feasibility of the methods through application to existing acoustic measurement data sets. In Phase II, the methods will be optimized and rigorously validated through experiments using small-scale turbofan engine models. Ultimately, we will transition these methods to NASA and industry stakeholders for adoption in relevant facilities.

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