Art restoration and computer simulation may not be the first things that come to mind when aerospace research is mentioned, but work conducted at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, is changing these perceptions. This year, Glenn is the recipient of two prestigious R&D 100 Awards, which are presented annually by R&D Magazine to the year's 100 most technologically significant new products.
Numerical Propulsion System Simulation (NPSS), a propulsion system simulation software program, and an art restoration technique using atomic oxygen are Glenn's winners for 2002.
NPSS is a world-class propulsion system simulation tool that provides users with unprecedented capability and ease of use. NPSS is an emerging U.S. standard for aerospace simulations, and is built and maintained with the full interaction of every major aircraft engine manufacturer in the U.S.
NPSS provides NASA and the U.S. aerospace industry with a revolutionary engineering capability that will reduce the cost and risk associated with advanced propulsion system development. The reduced risk translates into increased safety for aeronautics and the human exploration of space.
Cynthia Gutierrez Naiman, Glenn's NPSS team lead, worked with a team of 39 Glenn engineers and other organizations including Analex, Cleveland; Arnold Engineering Development Center, Arnold AFB, Tenn.; The Boeing Company, Seattle, Wash.; General Electric Aircraft Engines, Cincinnati; Honeywell, Phoenix; Integral Systems Inc., Cleveland; Modern Technologies Corp., Middleburg Hts., Ohio; Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, Conn.; Rolls Royce Co., Indianapolis; RS Information Systems Inc., Cleveland; Teledyne Continental Motors - Turbine Engines, Toledo, Ohio; Williams International, Walled Lake, Mich.; Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio; and ZIN Technologies, Cleveland.
The second award-winning technology involves removal of organic and carbon contaminants from the surfaces of paintings and other art objects by means of low energy atomic oxygen. Atomic oxygen, which can be produced in a vacuum or at atmospheric pressure, is highly reactive and capable of removing smoke, char and other contaminants from the surfaces of paintings without damaging the underlying paint pigment. The process has successfully restored fire damaged and defaced paintings that were previously considered beyond repair by conventional techniques.
This technology, developed to simulate the low Earth orbital space environment, has made it possible to etch as well as alter the surface chemistry and texture of many materials through atomic oxygen interaction processes. Commercial applications of this technology include medical, industrial and art restoration and cleaning.
Bruce Banks, chief, Electro-Physics Branch, says, "We haven't even begun to realize all the potential applications for this technology." Sharon Miller, a researcher in the same Branch, was the co-developer of the technique.
The 2002 R&D 100 awards banquet is scheduled for October 16 at Chicago's Navy Pier Convention Center.
NASA Glenn has won a great majority of this prestigious award over the years. Of 120 awards received by NASA since the award's inception in 1966, 83 have been for Glenn-developed products and technologies.