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STTR Phase I: Optical NDI of Thermal Barrier Coatings

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2008 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Southwest Sciences, Inc.
1570 Pacheco Street Suite E-11 Santa Fe, NM 87505-3993
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2008
Title: STTR Phase I: Optical NDI of Thermal Barrier Coatings
Agency: NSF
Contract: 0741192
Award Amount: $150,000.00


The Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I project will demonstrate an optical non-destructive inspection (NDI) method for thermal barrier coatings (TBCs), based on a combination of Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography (FD-OCT) and photo-stimulated luminescence piezo-spectroscopy (PLPS). TBCs are widely used in aircraft engines to protect metal components from high operating temperatures in order to improve the durability and engine efficiency. Coating spallation can lead to premature component failure; therefore, there is a need for NDI technologies to detect early damage and assess the TBC remaining life. Key innovations include coupling FD-OCT to super-continuum light source technology to enhance the subsurface imaging quality and synergistic combination of FD-OCT and PLPS to provide a more robust TBC remaining life assessment. Successful completion of this program will result in a novel NDI technology, which will result in maximizing the use life of TBC-coated components of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines, leading to significant cost savings. It will also be useful for NDI of other ceramic coatings and a variety of composites. The intended markets include turbine manufacturing and maintenance facilities, industrial research laboratories and government. This technology will have impact on material research, and the turbine engine and power industries.

Principal Investigator:

Andrei B. Vakhtin

Business Contact:

Andrei B. Vakhtin
Small Business Information at Submission:

Southwest Sciences Inc
1570 PACHECO ST STE E11 Santa Fe, NM 87505

EIN/Tax ID: 850340320
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
University of Connecticut
438 Whitney Road
Unit 1133
Storrs, CT 6269
Contact: Carol Welt
Contact Phone: (860) 486-3726
RI Type: Nonprofit college or university