Glenn Research Center, located on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, is dedicated to creating technologies that will propel us into the new millennium. Perhaps it is this, as well as a dedication to innovation and excellence, that has positioned Glenn a NASA's Center of Excellence in turbomachinery. This attitude and sense of pride is exemplified in the ongoing, cutting-edge activities being conducted at the Center.
The Glenn-managed Ultra-Efficient Engine Technology (UEET) Program includes participation from Ames Research Center, Langley Research Center, and Goddard Space Flight Center, as well as five engine and two airplane manufacturers. The six-year, nearly $300 million program's goal is to demonstrate new engine technologies that reduce aircraft emissions, reduce noise, and increase performance. Much of the success will come from improved materials, new propulsion controls, advanced combustors, and turbomachinery concepts. This technology is in the works, with the integration of technologies in a working engine, while integrating the engine into an aircraft airframe is still to come. The UEET Program will enable future-generation aircraft to travel a wide range of flight speeds, farther, cleaner, and safer than ever before.
In 2000, Glenn completed the hardware development of its Physics of Colloids in Space experiment. The experiment is one of a series of Glenn-managed microgravity science experiments scheduled to be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS). A colloid consists of fine, insoluble particles suspended in a fluid. Everyday examples of colloids are paint, milk, salad dressings, and aerosols. The Physics of Colloids in Space experiment will allow scientists to study the basic physical properties of colloids without the influence of gravity. The long-term goal of this investigation is to learn how to steer the growth of colloids to create new materials and structures.
On STS-97 station assembly flight 4A in November 2000, the first U.S. photovoltaic (PV) module was carried to the ISS and installed. The module supplies the ISS with solar power via solar arrays, batteries, and other power system electronics. Glenn had a significant role in the design and development of the PV module and managed the hardware development of the flight hardware. Also installed on that mission were two radiators, which remove waste heat from ISS. One of these radiator panels was tested in the Space Power Facility, the world's largest space environment simulation chamber at Glenn's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.
Common to many of the space applications that use solar thermal energy--such as electric power conversion, thermal propulsion, and furnaces--is a need for highly efficient, solar concentration systems. An effort is underway at Glenn to develop a refractive secondary concentrator, which uses refraction and total internal reflection to efficiently concentrate and direct solar energy. When used in combination with advanced lightweight primary concentrators, the refractive secondary concentrator will produce very high system concentration ratios (10,000 to 1) and, of more practical interest, very high temperatures (>2000 °K).
The innovative refractive secondary concentrator has significant advantages over all other types of secondary concentrators. It is very efficient, requires no active cooling, relaxes the pointing and tracking requirements of the primary concentrator, and enables very high system concentration ratios. This technology can be used in any system that requires the conversion of solar energy to heat, for example, materials research furnaces on ISS and thermal propulsion systems.
As part of NASA's Aviation Safety Program goals to reduce aviation accidents due to icing, Glenn is leading a flight simulator development activity to improve pilot training for adverse flying characteristics due to icing. Flight simulators that include the aerodynamic effects of icing will give pilots realistic exposure to the effects of icing-induced hazards, such as ice-contaminated roll upset, tailplane stall, or other loss-of-control events that may result from ice on the airframe.
In order to achieve a high fidelity flight simulation, wind tunnel tests were conducted on a 6.5-percent-scale model of a Twin Otter aircraft. These tests resulted in databases containing aerodynamic forces and moments, as functions of angle of attack; sideslip; control surface deflections; forced oscillations in the pitch, roll, and yaw axes; and various rotational speeds. Some wing and tail surface pressure data were also recorded. The databases are the foundation for a PC-based Icing Flight Simulator delivered to Glenn in fiscal year 2001.
The continued activities at Glenn make the Center a shining example of the vast array of NASA's benefits. Work conducted at Glenn Research Center helps to open windows to new worlds of opportunity both in space and on Earth.
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