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Chico, CA, United States

Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.97K | Year: 2015

Makel Engineering, Inc. proposes to develop a miniaturized Multi-Species Chemical Microsensor Instrument suitable for real-time, in situ measurements of hydrogen or methane, oxygen, water vapor and mixture thermal conductivity for monitoring purge effectiveness in cryogenic propellant lines. Helium is a scarce, strategic and non-renewable natural resource. NASA is a major user of helium and significant future cost savings in operations can be realized with improved monitoring of purge activities. Without real time measurement of species being purged from systems, extended purge cycles and excess helium is used to ensure completely purged lines. The proposed sensor system will incorporate individual microsensor elements for key species. The sensors will be designed to be permanently installed in purge and vent lines at cryogenic propellant storage, transfer, test stand and launch facilities. The instrument package to be developed in the program will adapt low cost and low power chemical microsensor technology which was originally developed for leak detection applications and recently been demonstrated in proof of concept cryogenic vent tests at NASA. This program will develop a low cost, robust integrated sensor probe and electronics with data interfaces suitable for real time monitoring and control helium purge sequences to minimize overall helium usage.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.85K | Year: 2011

Makel Engineering and Cornell University propose to develop a galley architecture taking into account the design constraints of the space habitat, such as reduced pressure and gravity, minimize size, mass, power and crew time, while producing food with high nutritional value and enough variety, acceptable taste and texture qualities for long term crew consumption. The current design of the space habitat will have a reduced atmospheric pressure of 8 psia which is equivalent to a 16,000 foot mountain top, with oxygen enrichment to prevent hypoxia effects on the crew. The combination of reduced pressure and gravity will affect the heat and mass transfer during food processing and food preparation of the food. Whether the food system is based chiefly on bulk packaged ingredients or crops grown on site, it must minimize mass, volume, power and waste, make effective use of the limited resource of crew time, produce nutritious, highly acceptable and varied food, and integrate into the closed habitat's atmospheric control system by containing and controlling airborne particulates, water vapor and odors generated during food preparation.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:Makel Engineering, Inc. and the University of California at Davis propose to develop an Orthogonal Air Quality Sensor Suite (OAQSS) which combines single species solid state chemical sensors with a miniature ion mobility spectrometer (IMS) to monitor oxygen levels and a wide range of potential contaminants. In addition to chemical species, the OAQSS will include pressure, temperature and dew point measurements. Several solid state chemical sensors will be derived from previous research for fire detection and emissions monitoring (e.g., O2, CO2, CO, NOx, hydrocarbons). The miniature IMS technology will enable detection of a wide range of volatile organic compounds and other vapors, significantly expanding the capabilities of the solid state sensors. The OAQSS will be a flyable system capable of real-time monitoring of the species of interest. It will be suitable for integration with aircraft environmental control system, adhering to available power sources and data transfer protocols. The system will have internal logging capabilities keeping a data buffer sufficient to store data for one or more flights Consistent with flight requirements, the OAQSS will be robust to survive the acceleration and vibration environment expected in fighter planes, yet design will emphasize minimization of physical envelope, mass and power consumption. BENEFIT:An aircrafts OBOGS supplies proper oxygen partial pressure to the pilot by conditioning and concentrating oxygen from engine bleed air. In addition to concentrating the oxygen levels, this system effectively filters out contaminants from typical bleed air supply. Problems arise when bleed air composition is substantially out of spec with elevated levels of contaminants. Real-time monitoring and detection of contaminants via the proposed system can immediately alert the pilot and aircrew to dangers, and initiate timely execution of emergency procedures. As commercial and civil aviation transition from traditional high pressure gaseous and liquid oxygen systems to OBOGS, there will exist additional commercial opportunities for the proposed Orthogonal Air Quality Sensor Suite (OAQSS).


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.58K | Year: 2016

Makel Engineering, Inc. proposes to develop a miniaturized Multi-Species Chemical Microsensor Instrument suitable for real-time, in situ measurements of hydrogen, oxygen, water vapor and mixture thermal conductivity for monitoring purge effectiveness in cryogenic propellant lines. Helium is a scarce, strategic and non-renewable natural resource. NASA is a major user of helium and significant future cost savings in operations can be realized with improved monitoring of purge activities. Without real time measurement of species being purged from systems, extended purge cycles and excess helium is used to ensure completely purged lines. The proposed sensor system will incorporate the required microsensors in a compact probe to enable multi-parameter monitoring in a single measurement port. The system will be designed to be permanently installed in purge and vent lines at cryogenic propellant storage, transfer, test stand and launch facilities. This program will adapt low cost and low power chemical microsensor technology which was originally developed for leak detection applications and recently been demonstrated in proof of concept cryogenic vent tests at NASA to develop a low cost, robust integrated sensor probe and electronics with data interfaces suitable for real time monitoring and control helium purge sequences to minimize overall helium usage.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.92K | Year: 2016

Makel Engineering Inc. (MEI), proposes to develop flight capable chemical microsensor arrays for in-situ monitoring of high temperature bleed air and turbine exhaust in jet engines. The proposed chemical sensor probes will be a new class of on-board engine instrumentation for real time monitoring of engine and bleed air system operation in flight. Sensor arrays developed by MEI have been demonstrated for ground tests usage to quantify composition of critical constituents in turbine engine exhaust products, e.g., CO, CO2, NOx, O2 and HC (unburned hydrocarbons). There currently is no flight capable instrumentation for real time measurement of high temperature gas streams from engine bleed air or the turbine exhaust. Ground test demonstrations with high temperature capable (500 to 600 (deg) C) solid-state chemical microsensors have shown the potential value for engine health monitoring and detection of engine faults or abnormal operations from ingestion of high moisture levels or particulate from volcanic emissions. The development of flight qualified engine sensors which can measure key chemical species will enable a new level of aeronautical vehicle health management.

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