High Fidelity Regolith Simulation Tool for ISRU Applications

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX08CB58P
Agency Tracking Number: 075583
Amount: $99,809.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: X5.02
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1141 Catalina Drive, PMB #270, Livermore, CA, 94550-5928
DUNS: 193084980
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Otis Walton
 Principal Investigator
 (925) 447-4293
Business Contact
 Otis Walton
Title: Business Official
Phone: (925) 447-4293
Email: walton@grainflow.com
Research Institution
NASA has serious unmet needs for simulation tools capable of predicting the behavior of lunar regolith in proposed excavation, transport and handling systems. Current simulation tools do not include the effects of triboelectric and photo-ionization induced charges on regolith particles. Existing DEM or FE models largely focus on coarse smooth non-brittle particles and lack adequate fidelity for fine cohesive powders comprised of friable particles with irregular shapes. As such, they are inadequate for assessing the reliability of regolith excavation and handling systems, and even less so for evaluation of engineering trade offs between total system mass, power and energy consumption. Grainflow Dynamics proposes to develop a high-fidelity DEM model incorporating a new charge-spot model for electrostatic forces arising from localized charge patches on the surfaces and in the interiors of individual particles, and also including an innovative new comprehensive cohesive-contact model. Grainflow Dynamics further proposes to demonstrate the ability of the new cohesive-contact model to mimic the compaction and dispersion behavior of lunar regolith simulants JSC-1A and JSC-1AF. This work will lead to an improved engineering design tool that can be used by NASA engineers and contractors developing designs for ISRU equipment, to evaluate reliability of various configurations, and the trade-offs of system designs.

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

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