Current Research

International Docking System Standard
From concept to flight qualification, near hermetic seals are being developed for the International Space Station's next generation docking system. The docking system has international acceptance and its design will be the standard that all government and commercial launch vehicles will use to supply crew and cargo to the laboratory. The requirements of these near hermetic seals are a technological challenge, as their operating envelope exceeds any seal ever used to explore the harse environment of space.

Seal Development for Low Impact Docking System.
A multi-disciplinary team of engineering researchers are currently developing seal technologies for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Space Exploration Initiative.  The research objective is to develop near hermetic seal configurations that will withstand the rigors of space and interplanetary missions, including exposure to atomic oxygen, ultraviolet radiation, impacts from orbital debris, contamination from rocket motors, thermal cycling, and abrasion from Lunar dust.  The assembled multiple organizational team is providing a full range of development activities from basic technology research through flight qualification testing and demonstration.  Workflow between conceptual design, predictive numerical simulations, analytical modeling, experimental testing, and analysis subunits are integrated and reported to the customer.

Materials International Space Station Experiment 6.
The collaborative experiment aims to evaluate the performance of candidate spacecraft materials by exposing samples to the synergistic and concurrent effects of the space environment aboard the International Space Station.  Launched aboard the Space Shuttle (STS-123), mounted external to the Columbus Space module, and returned to Earth (STS-128), the experiment spent 18 months exposed to atomic oxygen, ultraviolet and particle radiation, micrometeoroids and orbital debris, thermal cycling, and vacuum pressure.  Candidate seal materials were subcomponents of MISSE 6.  The sub-experiments were designed, flight hardware was integrated, and post-flight testing will be provided to the international community by our engineering researchers.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Seal Development.
High temperature solid oxide fuel cells show promise for aeronautic applications, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and auxiliary power units, and for space exploration applications, such as remote power generation and electrolyzers, because of their high efficiencies and power densities.  The production and testing of a reliable hermetic fuel cell seal capable of withstanding cyclic temperatures to 1000°C was the development goal.  The customer was provided experimental apparatus design and assembly, along with contract oversight of an engineering design group, a software development firm, and a numerical simulation vendor.

Zero-Leakage Non-Contact Acoustic-Based Seal Development.
A fundamental analytical understanding of the generation of high-amplitude pressure waves was explored and incorporated into the design of pre-prototype acoustic-based seals.  Feasibility of producing an advanced seal was realized when pre-prototype seals achieved up to 50% flow reduction.

NDT Level III Certified in Leak Testing
In addition to conducting leak tests, the team has the capability to develop, qualify, and approve procedures and techniques for leak testing.

Areas of Expertise

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Performance Characterization
  • Experiment Design
  • Experimental Testing
  • Flight Hardware Design, Assembly, and Integration
  • Research and Development
  • Project Management



Collaborative Team

Chris Daniels, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Research Associate Professor
The University of Akron

Janice Wasowski
Senior Research Associate
The University of Akron

Nicholas Garafolo, Ph.D.
Senior Research Associate
The University of Akron

Marta Bastrzyk
Senior Research Associate
The University of Akron

Brad Hartzler
Senior Research Associate
The University of Akron

Ian Smith
Senior Research Associate
The University of Akron

Mason Conrad
Senior Research Associate
The University of Akron

Jeffrey DeMange
Senior Research Associate
The University of Toledo

Shawn Taylor
Senior Research Associate
The University of Toledo

Nicholas Penney
Institutional Principal Investigator and Senior Researcher
Aerospace Institute

Jay Oswald
Institutional Principal Investigator and President
J&J Technical Solutions

M.J. Braun, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor
The University of Akron




Copyright © 2010 Christopher Daniels.