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NASA Glenn Earns Agency’s Prestigious Invention of the Year Awards


GRC wins IoY Award

For the first time, technology from NASA’s Glenn Research Center was selected as the recipient of both the 2018 Government and Commercial NASA Invention of the Year awards with the Commercial Invention of the Year being a first for the center. This was accomplished by securing two licenses for the winning technology, PS/PM400, a new high-temperature solid lubricant coating for high-temperature wear applications. PS/PM400 was developed by Senior Technologist, Dr. Christopher DellaCorte, and recent retiree Brian J. Edmonds. This technology is a novel, self-lubricating alloy material developed specifically for coating superalloys, applicable in many NASA technologies. PS400 is the coating version of the lubricant composite applied via plasma spray (PS) techniques, while PM 400 is the free-standing solid version of the lubricant composite made via powder metallurgy (PM) processes.

The versatile alloy performs in temperatures from cryogenic levels, approximately -150°C, to greater than 900°C. Formulated to provide high density, smooth surface finish, and excellent dimensional stability with low complexity and expense in fabrication, this alloy is a significant upgrade over not only traditional lubricants such as oil and grease, but also solid lubricants like graphite or other carbon-based composite materials.

This innovation offers immediate benefits for numerous applications already operating in high-temperature environments, such as rocket engines, aircraft turbines and steam generation. It is widely used in foil air bearings for aircraft, as well as in other types of bearings, bushings and valves supporting state-of-the-art NASA engine design. GRC’s licensees ADMA and Hohman Plating are actively promoting and developing this technology for the automotive industry in applications such as exhaust-system parts and gas recirculation valves. Our licensees are also working with unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturers, large equipment manufacturers and companies needing a high performing material.

Learn more about the PS/PM400 technology here.