Art restoration and computer simulation may not be the first things that
come to mind when aerospace research is mentioned, but work conducted at
NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, is changing these perceptions. This
year, Glenn is the recipient of two prestigious R&D 100 Awards, which are
presented annually by R&D Magazine to the year’s 100 most technologically
significant new products.

Numerical Propulsion System Simulation (NPSS), a propulsion system
simulation software program, and an art restoration technique using atomic
oxygen are Glenn’s winners for 2002.

NPSS is a world-class propulsion system simulation tool that provides users
with unprecedented capability and ease of use. NPSS is an emerging U.S.
standard for aerospace simulations, and is built and maintained with the
full interaction of every major aircraft engine manufacturer in the U.S.

NPSS provides NASA and the U.S. aerospace industry with a revolutionary
engineering capability that will reduce the cost and risk associated with
advanced propulsion system development. The reduced risk translates into
increased safety for aeronautics and the human exploration of space.

Cynthia Gutierrez Naiman, Glenn’s NPSS team lead, worked with a team of 39
Glenn engineers and other organizations including Analex, Cleveland; Arnold
Engineering Development Center, Arnold AFB, Tenn.; The Boeing Company,
Seattle, Wash.; General Electric Aircraft Engines, Cincinnati; Honeywell,
Phoenix; Integral Systems Inc., Cleveland; Modern Technologies Corp.,
Middleburg Hts., Ohio; Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, Conn.; Rolls Royce
Co., Indianapolis; RS Information Systems Inc., Cleveland; Teledyne
Continental Motors – Turbine Engines, Toledo, Ohio; Williams International,
Walled Lake, Mich.; Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio; and ZIN
Technologies, Cleveland.

The second award-winning technology involves removal of organic and carbon
contaminants from the surfaces of paintings and other art objects by means
of low energy atomic oxygen. Atomic oxygen, which can be produced in a
vacuum or at atmospheric pressure, is highly reactive and capable of
removing smoke, char and other contaminants from the surfaces of paintings
without damaging the underlying paint pigment. The process has successfully
restored fire damaged and defaced paintings that were previously considered
beyond repair by conventional techniques.

This technology, developed to simulate the low Earth orbital space
environment, has made it possible to etch as well as alter the surface
chemistry and texture of many materials through atomic oxygen interaction
processes. Commercial applications of this technology include medical,
industrial and art restoration and cleaning.

Bruce Banks, chief, Electro-Physics Branch, says, “We haven’t even begun to
realize all the potential applications for this technology.” Sharon Miller,
a researcher in the same Branch, was the co-developer of the technique.

The 2002 R&D 100 awards banquet is scheduled for October 16 at Chicago’s
Navy Pier Convention Center.

NASA Glenn has won a great majority of this prestigious award over the
years. Of 120 awards received by NASA since the award’s inception in 1966,
83 have been for Glenn-developed products and technologies.