September 13, 2018
DSM has begun a Commercialization Readiness Program (CRP) project in conjunction with Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) to further the development of a remotely controlled cryogenic valve actuator. In this application, the actuator will be coupled with a valve to control the flow of gaseous helium at temperatures as low as 15 Kelvin. The actuator must also be compatible with conditions of an ultrahigh vacuum, at pressures down to 10-8 Torr. In order to achieve this level of vacuum, the actuator must be designed to have extremely low outgassing. DSM expects that the final design iteration of this actuator will meet NASA’s low outgassing requirements.
The simplicity of the actuator technology makes it a suitable application for high vacuum and low temperature applications. It is especially appropriate for valve actuation as the technology is capable of zero power hold. DSM has developed a closed loop controller capable of positioning the actuator output to within 0.001 inch accuracy (dependent on the stroke and size of the motor). Another advantage inherent to this technology is the limitless amount of stroke possible. Because the sizing of the motor is determined per application, the cryogenic valve actuator is capable of actuating under a wide range of load conditions and for large amounts of stroke.
This effort with AEDC stems from a previous 3 year SBIR program which ended in 2015. In the previous SBIR program, DSM aimed to develop its patented impact motor actuation technology from a concept to a working product. The program resulted in three working prototypes, each a different size. By creating a “family” of sizes, DSM was able to characterize the technology and extrapolate the performance of a theoretical motor of a specific size. The largest prototype’s specifications are seen below: