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Aurora, IL, United States

Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2009

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to enhance the automotive friction material manufacturing industry's productivity and efficiency by providing a superior measurement method for quality, consistency and the quantification of noise influencing material properties. Friction material manufacturing is subject to inter-material as well as inter-batch inconsistency that is not adequately quantifiable by existing methods. These inconsistencies adversely affect customer satisfaction, contribute to lost business and consume engineering and testing resources. An ultrasonic-based measurement method capable of measuring material property and consistency data has been employed in destructive laboratory testing with success. Modification of this method for use with intact, as-manufactured friction materials can provide manufacturers with the quality and consistency analysis tools that are currently severely lacking. In this program studies will be conducted to relate ultrasonic data to friction material processing variables and to forge a relationship between ultrasonic test data and noise performance. Ultrasonic measurement can be implemented as both, part of a control scheme to improve the manufacture of friction materials and as a quality assurance method to ensure that noise-prone components do not enter the marketplace. Both lead to increased customer satisfaction and significant gains in manufacturing efficiency. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is improved manufacturing processes for automotive friction materials. The entire automotive industry can attest that brake noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) repairs often dominate warranty claims. More than $100 million is spent annually on brake noise, vibration warranty work in North America alone. In order to reduce such warranty and brake repair costs, more attention is being placed on optimizing NVH performance to eliminate brake squeals, groans and other related issues at the original equipment level. This is especially true considering new vehicle quality perceptions are often driven in part by brake performance and warranty repairs. Although test methods suitable for measuring and controlling friction levels are available, methods to screen parts for the purpose of eliminating NVH problems are inadequate, lacking sufficient specificity to allow definitive screening for the elimination of defective components. These methods are expensive, slow and difficult to implement. Better quality assurance test methods are needed, which market ultrasonic measurement methods are fully capable of exploiting. Ultrasonic methods fit a need in the auto industry that has not been filled, despite much time and effort being devoted to NVH over the past few decades.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2009

Innovative measurement methods and instruments are needed to advance the state-of-art of hypersonic flight. Improved thermal transport measurement methods speed development, improve understanding, and enhance our ability to validate analytical models and hardware for numerous propulsion and aeroshell applications. Recent studies have shown that in many hypersonic applications ultrasonic-based temperature and heat flux measurements offer distinct advantages over conventional methods. The transient temperature response is limited only by the velocity of sound and not the thermal mass of the sensor. Measurements can be made remotely, which prevents the disturbance of the measured quantity and removes the sensor from the harsh thermal environment. Measurements can be made without modifying the structure in any way e.g. drilling. In spite of these advantages, ultrasonic thermometry has not found widespread use. One reason for this limited use is the lack of low-cost, compact, dedicated, instrumentation which takes full advantage of the ultrasonic-based methods. In this proposal, we fill this gap by developing and demonstrating a multi-channel ultrasonic-based temperature and heat flux measurement capability. This innovation will be initially applied to boundary layer transition measurements in ground-based experiments, but will have the potential for application in a host of in-flight hypersonic experiments. BENEFIT: Ultrasonic thermometry offers unique capabilities to hypersonic vehicle development. Improved thermal transport measurement methods speed development, improve understanding, and enhance our ability to validate analytical models and hardware for numerous propulsion and aeroshell applications. The non-intrusive nature of the method is particularly attractive for hostile environment encountered in hypersonic flight. The immediate market for this technology is primarily in military applications where there is a need for improved thermal transfer measurement tools to drive the development and evaluation of hypersonic materials and components. In addition to the applications in hypersonic vehicle and propulsion systems, the ultrasonic temperature sensor technology has applications in the areas of space lift, space platform, combustion research, and missiles. There is also a potential commercial market in areas where thermal transport data is needed in relatively inaccessible regions such as combustion chambers, reactors and in some glass molding operations.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2009

The operating conditions of air-breathing propulsion engines demand designs that include cooling by the fuel and the use of lightweight materials that withstand extreme heat fluxes under oxidizing conditions.  Currently there are no means by which the fuel temperature can be non-invasively measured with the required temporal and spatial resolution.  It is important to monitor and maintain the maximum fuel temperature below critical levels in order to prevent coking.  For ground-based experiments, real-time fuel temperature measurements can be used to relax the safety constraints, thereby allowing for higher speed flow and longer length experiments. Furthermore, experience, information, and instrumentation developed as the result of ground-based experiments can form the basis for in-flight test capability.  Flight hardened test capability can be incorporated as part of a control strategy that would enhance overall combustor efficiency by balancing fuel flow rates with combustor wall temperature to yield most optimum operating conditions. In this program we apply the ultrasonic thermometry in 2 areas; 1) fuel temperature measurements in the manifold region and 2) fuel temperature in one of the combustor cooling passages.  As a by-product of the cooling passage measurement we will also measure heat flux and surface temperature on the material between the combustion inner chamber and the cooling channel.   BENEFIT: Ultrasonic thermometry offers unique capabilities to hypersonic vehicle development.  Improved thermal transport measurement methods speed development, improve understanding, and enhance our ability to validate analytical models and hardware for numerous propulsion and aeroshell applications.  The non-intrusive nature of the method is particularly attractive for hostile environment encountered in hypersonic flight.  The immediate market for this technology is primarily in military applications where there is a need for improved thermal transfer measurement tools to drive the development and evaluation of hypersonic materials and components.   In addition to the applications in hypersonic vehicle and propulsion systems, the ultrasonic temperature sensor technology has applications in the areas of space lift, space platform, combustion research, and missiles.  There is also a potential commercial market in areas where thermal transport data is needed in relatively inaccessible regions such as combustion chambers, reactors and in some glass molding operations


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2007

In this proposal we exploit the remote sensing attributes of ultrasound to non-intrusively measure temperature, transient temperature and heat flux in both insulating and metallic aeroshells. In previous work, we have demonstrated the capability to non-intrusively measure the local temperature at the inner surface of large caliber Navy guns using sensors attached to the external gun barrel surface (2.5” from the measurement point). In the proposed effort, we modify the measurement methods to apply to relevant aeroshell materials and configurations found in hypersonic flight. Analytical methods to accurately treat thermal transients and extract heat flux from the ultrasonic data are also developed. The ultrasonic methods are non-intrusive and do not require breeching the aeroshell. The ability to locate sensors on the interior surfaces removes the sensor from the chemically reactive environment of hypersonic airbreathing propulsion systems which allows operation of the test facilities at extreme temperatures. Acquisition of localized and instantaneous temperature data from previously inaccessible regions will improve the Air Force’s ability to control, understand, and optimize hypersonic vehicle performance. The ability to perform such measurements without breeching the interior or exterior surfaces of hypersonic vehicles is critical for flight vehicles.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 593.80K | Year: 2006

The fabrication of ceramic matrix composites is a multi-step process requiring careful monitoring and control at each step in the processing cycle. Consistent, high quality components can only be reliably reproduced if a firm foundation is provided by initially insuring the uniformity and consistency of the reinforcing yarns. Although considerable effort has been invested in developing NDE suitable for characterizing green as well as fully consolidated components, much less has been done to characterize the reinforcing yarns. In this Phase II program, we develop and implement in-line testing methods to characterize silicon carbide yarns. Methods are formulated and applied to the yarns as an integrated part of the yarn coating process. Experiments are performed relating various yarn defects to those found in composites. Integration of yarn testing methods into the normal manufacturing process will pay a large dividend in cost reduction, result in more consistent component performance (improved quality), and lead to improved coating processes and product quality.

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