Propellant Flow Actuated Piezoelectric Rocket Engine Igniter

Award Information
Agency:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$599,974.00
Award Year:
2011
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
NNX11CB38C
Award Id:
n/a
Agency Tracking Number:
094866
Solicitation Year:
2009
Solicitation Topic Code:
X10.01
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
CA, Murrieta, CA, 92562-7060
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
Y
Duns:
877211243
Principal Investigator:
MarkWollen
Principal Investigator
(619) 593-7750
mwollen@iesnet.com
Business Contact:
MichaelGruszczynski
Business Official
(951) 951-7600
mg@iesnet.com
Research Institute:
Stub




Abstract
Under a Phase 1 effort, IES successfully developed and demonstrated a spark ignition concept where propellant flow drives a very simple fluid mechanical oscillator to excite a piezoelectric crystal. The Phase 1 effort exceeded expectations, with the device demonstrating reliable ignition of both hydrogen and propane fuels, and achieving in excess of 1 million impact cycles (40,000 start cycles) during fatigue testing without measureable degradation. Several spin-off concepts were also identified that provide additional options for improving spark ignition system design. For Phase 2, IES proposes an accelerated, 18 month effort to refine design concepts and analysis tools, and then develop specific ignition system designs for two customer applications, with the intention of having these ignition systems demonstrated in engine ground testing during Phase 2 and ready to start flight qualification immediately following the Phase 2 effort. Both customers (United Launch Alliance and Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne) have expressed interest and commitment in participating in the Phase 2 activity, making engines and facilities available for development testing, and integrating any resulting viable products into their flight engines. The ULA application is a new gaseous bipropellant H2/O2 attitude control thruster, for which the piezoelectric igniter is ideal as a simple, direct ignition source. The PWR application is for an evolved RL-10 study currently underway, for which the piezoelectric system might be scaled up or used as a pilot igniter for a torch, or make use of another spin-off concept that was identified during the Phase 1 effort. The timing of this Phase 2 effort coincides perfectly with near term needs of both these customers, as well as for other small engine applications in work to replace catalytic hydrazine engines with bi-propellant engines that will require a simple and reliable ignition source.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites


SBA logo

Department of Agriculture logo

Department of Commerce logo

Department of Defense logo

Department of Education logo

Department of Energy logo

Department of Health and Human Services logo

Department of Homeland Security logo

Department of Transportation logo

Enviromental Protection Agency logo

National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo

National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government