NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Surface Mobility/Mechanisms
PROPOSAL TITLE:Long-Life, Oil-Free Light-Weight Multi-Roller Traction Drives for Planetary Vehicle Surface Exploration

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Nastec, Inc.
1801 East Ninth Street, Suite 1111
Cleveland, OH 44114-3103
(216) 765-7514

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Richard   Klein
1801 East Ninth Street, Suite 1111
Cleveland, OH  44114-3103
(216) 765-7514

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A multi-roller "oil free" traction drive is under development for use on vehicles used in hostile environments like those that will be encountered on planetary surfaces. The drive has been designed to meet the operating requirements of for an Apollo?class Lunar Rover. A drive geometry optimization study was conducted establishing that a 30-to-1, two-row, four planet multi-roller drive offers the best balance between size, weight, simplicity, motor operating speed and operational life. The drive can function without the use of liquid lubricants and will be able to operate at very cold temperatures and over a wide range of temperatures by using low wear, high friction solid lubricant materials. Liquid lubricants currently used in gear drives tend to become too viscous to flow at low temperature and too thin to lubricate at high temperatures. Because these drives use no liquids, "oil free" traction drives will not encounter the problems associated with the changing oil viscosities of liquid lubricants which will enable them to operate reliably over a wide range of temperatures. Also contamination of the lunar soil will not be a problem because there is no liquid to vaporize or leak.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Current drive systems available for space applications use gears with various configurations of "teeth." These gears must be lubricated with oil and must have some sort of a lubricant supply system. Oil poses problems for drive systems used on planetary surfaces such as; evaporation, freezing, degradation, contamination of and contamination by. We propose to develop lightweight, oil-free traction drives (roller drives) that will be an enabling technology capable of operating under the extreme conditions found on planetary surfaces and that will provide low energy loss and long operation lives. These drives will provide an alternative to harmonic drives (the current state of the art drives), which will not be able to be operate at very cold temperatures unless the oil is heated. Traction drives will be able to be used in all types of machinery used on planetary surfaces such as: lunar rovers, construction equipment, processing plants, in a radiation environment, etc.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The smooth torque transfer, zero backlash, compactness and low noise characteristics of traction drives make this innovation potentially applicable for a wide range of commercial devices which require extremely smooth torque transfer, precision, high speeds, or operation in severe environments (e.g. under-seas, extremely cold temperatures, etc.). The military can utilize them in nuclear submarines, for desert applications or for equipment operating at extremely hot or cold temperatures. Also, if these drives can be produced more simply by the use of non-metallic materials or lightweight easily machined metals with ceramic coatings, the cost to manufacture these drives will be substantially reduced; thus increasing the potential for their use in commercial applications. Commercial applications could include automobiles, nuclear power plants, manufacturing plants, construction equipment, etc.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Manned-Manuvering Units

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04