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Multi-Physics Approach to Simulate Dust Accumulation/Removal

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC18P1968
Agency Tracking Number: 182822
Amount: $124,991.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: H5
Solicitation Number: SBIR_18_P1
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-07-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-02-15
Small Business Information
3143 S. 840 E. Suite 350, Saint George, UT, 84790-8547
DUNS: 145188777
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Brant Ross
 (435) 767-9645
Business Contact
 Brant Ross
Phone: (435) 767-9645
Research Institution

This Phase I SBIR will build on MotionPort’s previous simulation successes in the area of solar array deployment, addressing the specific challenge of simulating dust accumulation on solar arrays for long-term energy needs on the surface of Mars. MotionPort will use the Compact Telescoping Surface Array (CTSA) concept, developed by NASA Langley, for the example model. Simulations will be run to demonstrate the capability of simulating dust accumulation on the deployed solar array. Two active dust removal concepts will be simulated:  1) High velocity winds will be applied to determine required wind velocities and orientation to successfully remove dust, and 2) A tilt and shake mechanism will be added to the solar array model to mechanically tilt and add vibration to the structure to ‘shake’ off the dust.

The CTSA will be modeled in the RecurDyn multibody dynamics software, considering the deployed configuration and a sampling of operating configurations. Simulations of dust particles will demonstrate the rate of dust accumulation on the surface of a solar array. An example of this type of simulation is shown in the image. Dust particles were simulated blowing past a rectangular plate with a reduced gravity. Simulations will be used to determine the effect of tilt angle of the solar array on dust abatement.

These simulations will be built upon to demonstrate the ability to simulate removal of dust using a high velocity wind. The results will be compared to available data. Co-simulation with RecurDyn and the Particleworks SPH CFD software will simulate the use of a tilt and shake mechanism to remove dust. Simulations will test the efficiency of dust removal as a function of magnitude and frequency of the shaking mechanism.

A custom application will be developed to automate repetitive steps such as: simplification of the mechanical model, parameter management, and file management. The simulations results, lessons learned, and user information will be documented.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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