NASA Researchers Receive R&D 100 Awards

Press Release From: Glenn Research Center
Posted: Friday, October 17, 2008

CLEVELAND -- NASA Glenn Research Center researchers and contractor personnel are among the 100 winners to receive the prestigious R&D 100 Awards. An R&D 100 Award is a mark of excellence known to industry, government and academia as proof that the product is one of the most innovative of the year. The awards were presented at a ceremony at Chicago's Navy Pier Grand Ballroom and Lakeview Terrace on Thursday, October 16.

Drs. David F. Chao, John M. Sankovic of Glenn, and Negli Zhang of Ohio Aerospace Institute will be honored for their design and development of the Multidimensional Contact Angle Measurement Device (MCAMD).

MCAMD is a breakthrough in measurement technology which enables a vast number of industries to measure transparent liquid drops on a solid surface. It collects a host of crucial information simultaneously in a 360-degree view and allows scientists to see how those liquid droplets interact to different surfaces.

Because of the advancement in technology, scientists will be able to study the contact angles in a way that is superior to any currently available contact angle meters. The previous method only measured a contact angle from a single side view.

Although MCAMD's direct application involves NASA space missions, it impacts many other things, such as industrial applications like coating, painting, lubricating, gluing, film cooling, biological cell adhesion and boiling heat transfer.

Dr. Donald J. Roth of Glenn, Dr. William P. Winfree of NASA Langley and Jeffrey P. Seebo of Lockheed Martin will receive the award for their design and development of Terahertz Density-Thickness Imager.

Terahertz imaging permits scientists and engineers to analyze the quality, compactness and dimensions of non-conducting materials or products, including materials such as foams, over a large continuous region, without having to cut out sections.

When it comes to space travel, foams play a major role as thermal protections systems. With the new technology, NASA now has the option of performing process and quality control of foams and other thermal protection system materials without destructively cutting and using laborious conventional quality control methods.

Using revolutionary methods and software, the Terahertz Density Thickness Imager extends the ability of conventional terahertz imaging. It allows NASA scientists and engineers to measure foam spray quality in terms of thickness and density variations over a large area that might occur as a result of hail damage, improper processing or worker handling.

The density-thickness imager technology is currently used exclusively by NASA, but in the future, it may have application not just for foam but plastics, wood, paper, ceramics and pharmaceutical materials.

Known as "The Oscars of Invention," these distinguished research and development awards have given companies the important initial push a new product needs to compete successfully in the marketplace.

For more information on the R&D 100 Awards on the Web, visit:

For more information on NASA Glenn on the Web, visit:

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