NASA Glenn Funds Technologies with Potential High Commerical Value


image CLEVELAND -- Four technologies developed at NASA's Glenn Research Center that involve advanced polymers, a life-saving biomedical device, innovative imaging and harsh environment sensor development have been selected to benefit from the 2010 Technology Transfer Fund.

"It is expected that, with a minimal amount of effort from both Glenn and the commercial partner, these technologies will demonstrate significantly improved commercial potential," said Kathleen K. Needham, deputy chief of Glenn's Business Development and Partnerships Office.

The 2010 Technology Transfer Fund winners are:

Manufacturing of High Temperature RTM Resins and Composites -- A new polyimide resin, called RTM370, can potentially save weight and manufacturing cost in the fabrication of lightweight composite parts by low-cost liquid molding for aerospace applications at high temperatures above 300 degrees Celsius. RTM370 has been successfully fabricated into composites by resin transfer molding and demonstrated outstanding mechanical properties and durability. Additional processing efforts will invest in composite fabrication by vacuum assisted resin transfer molding and resin film infusion as well as evaluation of the resulting composite panels to verify performance. Glenn's Kathy Chuang and Frank Harris, Akron Polymer Systems, Akron, Ohio, are the technical experts who will be working with this technology.

Atomic Oxygen Textured Optical Fibers for Glucose Monitoring -- A new fiber optic nanosensor blood glucose monitoring device was developed by LightPointe Medical, Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., using Glenn's research in low Earth orbital atomic oxygen interactions with spacecraft materials. The device resulted from microscopic cone shaped textures that form on optical fiber surfaces as a result of atomic oxygen attack. The expected outcome of this effort is a demonstration of reliable and repeatable blood glucose measurements. Glenn's Sharon Miller; Bruce Banks, Alphaport Inc., Cleveland; and Deborah Waters, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Barrow, Alaska, are partnering with Hiroshi Nomura of Lightpointe on this effort.

Release Strategy for VESGEN Software: User Documentation and Validation -- VESsel GENeration Analysis is an automated, user-interactive, fractal-based computer software program that analyzes the effects of vascular therapeutics on the complex branching architecture of blood and lymphatic vessels. User documentation will be developed so the software can be used by the broader scientific community. Also, an alpha study will be conducted for the analysis of tumor vessels and cancer therapeutics. VESGEN maps vascular branching patterns and quantifies changes within successive branching generations. Glenn's Patricia Parsons-Wingert, Patricia Keith, and Mary Vickerman; along with Krishnan Radhakrishnan, University of New Mexico; and Ernest Borden, Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, will collaborate on this work.

Overcoming Problem of Offset Voltage Drift Run Away in Silicon Carbide Pressure Sensors -- Offset voltage drifts at the 600 degrees Celsius operating temperature were observed in the currently-licensed silicon carbide pressure sensors. The existence of these drifts results in inaccurate measurements during pressure monitoring at high temperature. Since these pressure sensors are being developed for operation in environments where the temperature can be very hot, such as in active combustion control systems, the existence of these drifts is a significant barrier to commercialization. Glenn's Robert Okojie; Nick Cannon of Meggitt Sensing Systems, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; and Jack Keller, Spectre Sensors, Inc., Bay Village, Ohio, will collaborate in the fabrication of sensors using optimized metallization processes and test their performance, with the goal of suppressing offset voltage drifts.

The Technology Transfer Fund is one method used by Glenn to encourage the adoption of their technology by businesses. The fund seeks to join NASA researchers and commercial partners to accelerate the development and maturation of technologies that have the greatest potential to create new products. The value of both parties' contribution in each partnership is equal and is estimated at a maximum of $50,000.

For more information about Glenn's technology transfer programs, visit: http://technology.grc.nasa.gov

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