Press Release: PADT Awarded U.S. Army Phase I SBIR Grant for Combustor Geometry Research Using 3D Printing, Simulation, and Product Development

We are pleased to announce that the US Army has awarded PADT a Phase I SBIR Grant to explore novel geometries for combustor cooling holes. This is our 15th SBIR/STTR win.

We are excited about this win because it is a project that combines Additive Manufacturing, CFD and Thermal Simulation, and Design in one project. And to make it even better, the work is being done in conjunction with our largest customer, Honeywell Aerospace.

We look forward to getting started on this first phase where we will explore options and then applying for a larger Phase II grant to conduct more thorough simulation then build and test the options we uncover in this phase.

Read more below. The official press release is here for HTML and here for PDF.

If you have any needs to explore new solutions or new geometries using Additive Manufacturing or applying advanced simulation to drive new and unique designs, please contact us at 480.813.4884 or info@padtinc.com.


PADT Awarded U.S. Army Phase I SBIR Grant for Combustor Geometry Research Using 3D Printing, Simulation, and Product Development

The Project Involves the Development of Sand-Plugging Resistant Metallic Combustor Liners

TEMPE, Ariz., August 15, 2019 ─ In recognition of its continued excellence and expertise in 3D printing, simulation, and product development, PADT announced today it has been awarded a $107,750 U.S. Army Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. With the support of Honeywell Aerospace, PADT’s research will focus on the development of gas turbine engine combustor liners that are resistant to being clogged with sand.  The purpose of this research is to reduce downtime and improve the readiness of the U.S. Army’s critical helicopters operating in remote locations where dirt and sand can enter their engines.  

“PADT has supported advanced research in a wide variety of fields which have centered around various applications of our services,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal, PADT. “We’re especially proud of this award because it requires the use of our three main areas of expertise, 3D printing, simulation and product development. Our team is uniquely capable of combining these three disciplines to develop a novel solution to a problem that impacts the readiness of our armed forces.”

The challenge PADT will be solving is when helicopters are exposed to environments with high concentrations of dust, they can accumulate micro-particles in the engine that clog the metal liner of the engine’s combustor. Combustors are where fuel is burned to produce heat that powers the gas turbine engine. To cool the combustor, thousands of small holes are drilled in the wall, or liner, and cooling air is forced through them. If these holes become blocked, the combustor overheats and can be damaged.  Blockage can only be remedied by taking the engine apart to replace the combustor. These repairs cause long-term downtime and significantly reduce readiness of the Army’s fleets.

PADT will design various cooling hole geometries and simulate how susceptible they are to clogging using advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation tools. Once the most-promising designs have been identified through simulation, sample coupons will be metal 3D printed and sent to a test facility to verify their effectiveness.  Additionally, PADT will experiment with ceramic coating processes on the test coupons to determine the best way to thermally protect the 3D printed geometries.

“When we developed new shapes for holes in the past, we had no way to make them using traditional manufacturing,” said Sina Ghods, principal investigator, PADT. “The application of metal additive manufacturing gives PADT an opportunity to create shapes we could never consider to solve a complex challenge for the U.S. Army. It also gives us a chance to demonstrate the innovation and growth of the 3D printing industry and its applications for harsh, real-world environments.”

Honeywell joined PADT to support this research because it is well aligned with the company’s Gas Turbine Engine products. The outcome of this research has the potential to significantly improve the performance of the company’s engines operating in regions with high dust concentrations.

This will be PADT’s 15th SBIR/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award since the company was founded in 1994. In August 2018, the company, in partnership with Arizona State University, was awarded a $127,000 STTR Phase I Grant from NASA to accelerate biomimicry research, the study of 3D printing objects that resemble strong and light structures found in nature such as honeycombs or bamboo.

To learn more about PADT and its advanced capabilities, please visit www.padtinc.com.

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

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Additive Manufacturing and the Navy SBIR Program – brought to you by RevAZ, AZ Commerce Authority, and PADT

RevAZ-ACA-PADT-Logos-1

Learn more about the Navy Sea SBIR Program from Jonathan Leggett, the NAVSEA SBIR Program Manager, about how AZ Manufacturers can use SBIR Grants to assist in funding R&D early stage innovation.  Jonathan will also review the Navy’s roadmap on additive manufacturing and 3D printing.  There will be 15 minute one-on-one sessions from 1:30 – 4:00 to answer your specific questions with:

  • Jonathan Leggett, NAVSEA SBIR Outreach Program Manager
  • Dave Garafano, ACA Executive Director of RevAZ
  • Jill HowardAllen, ACA Manger of Technology Commercialization & SBIR Programming

Register Now!

Who Should Attend?

  • Small to Medium Sized Businesses – (500 or less)manufacturers interested in learning how the SBIR/STTR program may assist them in commercializing their early stage innovation.
  • Large & Medium Sized Businesses and/or 3rd Party Investors – Those seeking to partners with the SBIR/STTR small businesses to (a) establish the requirements and specification for the proposed outcomes; and (b) provide financial resources and collaboration for commercializing the results
  • University/Institute Faculty and Staff – Those seeking consulting and partnering opportunities with the small business on the SBIR/STTR grant

When: April 7
10:00-12:00 – Navy SBIR Overview & Navy
Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap
1:30- 4:00 – 15 Minute 1:1 Sessions with Jonathan Leggett

Where: PADT
7755 S Research Dr.
Suite 120
Tempe, AZ 85284

Please Register to Reserve your Spot!

Direct any questions to Jill HowardAllen at JillH@azcommerce.com or call 602 845 1291.

PADT is honored to be hosting the event and taking part in the training.

SBIR Awards at PADT

In 1999 PADT started looking for ways to leverage our various skills to further develop some intellectual property.  We had been doing projects for a variety of customers who were participating in the Small Business Innovative Research program through the federal government (SBIR), and we thought it might not be a bad idea to try going for a few SBIR’s of our own to help us get from that “startup” stage to the “established” phase.  It worked, over the following ten years PADT was successfully awarded 13 SBIR grants.

While we were in the thick of it we really did not keep track of things from a marketing perspective.  But as we prepare to launch the new Product Development portion of the PADT Blog, we thought it would be a good time to look back and summarize what we did and share it with our readers.

One thing that sets PADT apart in the world of SBIR’s is our high level of commercialization.  Although not all of the awards PADT received turned into commercial products, many did.  And bits and pieces from each project help PADT increase our experience and tool set.

Here is a list of the SBIR’s we have been awarded over the years:

Miniature Air Handling System for Portable Fuel Cell Power Supplies
US Army 1999 Phase I
VaneAlpha1This was our first SBIR and it was also our first project that involved pumping or blowing for fuel cells.  We learned a lot on this project and many of the follow on SBIR and commercial products we developed in this area are based on the technology developed here.
Ultra Low Weight Turbomolecular Pump
NASA 1999 Phase I
psys5JPL was interested in developing a very low weight vacuum pump (TMP) that they could use on their interplanetary explorers so they could run their experiments in a vacuum.  This project had a lot of issues to overcome, not the least of which was how to manufacture the thing.
Ultra Low Weight Turbomolecular Pump
NASA 2000 Phase II
TMP_050701_fOur proof of concept in Phase I was good enough to win PADT a Phase II contract for the ULWTMP design.  Now our ideas had to be put to work. We did solve a lot of the problems, especially the manufacturing issues. At the end of the project the only issue left undone was the rotordynamics problem that is encountered at the speeds of a TMP with a magnetic bearing.
Miniature Air Handling System for Portable Fuel Cell Power Supplies
US Army 2000 Phase II
vane-familly2PADT took what we learned in Phase I of this project and developed a family of vane compressors that met the unique needs of the US Army.  We developed an entire family of pumping solutions and tested them to develop a good understanding of their capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Fuel Cell Based Portable Hybrid Power Supply
US Army 2000 Phase I
Hybrid-aThis phase I project involved the design of a portable hybrid power supply that combined batteries and a hydrogen fuel cell.  The end product was a conceptual design for a light way power solution for US soldiers.  PADT built a working demonstrator model that highlighted the control system, the custom fuel cell, and the pumping solution.
Fuel Cell Based Portable Hybrid Power Supply
US Army 2001 Phase II
hybridThis follow on project focused on the detailed design of a light weight portable power supply that used hydrogen to drive a fuel cell.  We produced a working demonstration product at the conclusion if of the effort. PADT was able to use all aspects of our company: simulation, design, test, prototyping, system integration, and manufacturing. The technology developed was used successfully to develop a complete hybrid system for a methanol fuel cell manufacturer who applied it to commercial applications.
Aerosol Collection Technology
US Army 2001 Phase I
impactor_bAfter the events of 9/11 the US Army had an interest in being able to detect air born biological weapons. Although they had good detectors, they needed a device that would use aerodynamics to collect air and separate out particles of a certain size. In Phase I of this project PADT used our CFD capability and rotating machinery design experience to develop a conceptual device for this application.
Aerosol Collection Technology
US Army 2003 Phase II
91010046For Phase II of this project PADT produced a working prototype and tested it with the help of Arizona State University. The testing showed that the technology was viable.  Fortunately, as time passed so did the potential threat and no market really opened up looking for such a device.
Low Cost Hot Anode Recycle Blower for SOFC Systems
DOE 2005 Phase I
invis_start_02_a32500_pic13PADT applied our fuel cell pumping knowledge to develop a pumping system that could work with the very high temperature Solid Oxide Fuel Cell systems that the government was looking at using for aircraft applications.
Miniature Disposable Drug Infusion Pump
DOD 2005 Phase I
clip_image002The department of defense is always focused on improving their ability to treat wounded soldiers in the field. One area that needed improvement in 2005 was the ability to deliver drugs in the battlefield with a portable lightweight design that had many special features which would allow a non-expert to administer the drugs. PADT investigated several different solutions and produced a conceptual design.
Low Cost Hot Anode Recycle Blower for SOFC Systems
DOE 2006 Phase II
clip_image002For the follow-up on this project PADT built a working system for pumping very high temperature fuel in a solid oxide fuel cell loop.  We also tested the system, at temperature, under a variety of operating conditions.
High Temperature Blower Development For SOFC Applications
DOE 2006 Phase I
clip_image002[5]PADT received an additional Phase I grant in this area to explore other options and to improve on the system developed as part of the low cost program.
Instruments and Devices To Preserve Molecular Profiles In Tumors
NIH 2009 Phase I
IMG_1448PADT first NIH project looked at developing a device that would freeze tissue biopsy samples during their extraction from a patient, or just after.  PADT developed a working prototype, the ReadyFreeze, that was very successful at allowing the user to freeze biopsy samples very shortly after extraction.