Technology Demonstrator Prototypes

 

Technology DemonstratorA Technology Demonstrator approach is an appropriate strategy for a device (or its parent system) still in the early technology phases. For such programs the machine or systems will have challenging performance and/or physical attribute goals. The Technology Demonstrator effort therefore marries a reasonable analytical effort with rapid prototype methods to provide the machine at a low cost and with as short a leadtime as practical, all supporting a goal of getting to test.

"One test trumps a thousand expert opinions!"
- Bob Fuller, Barber-Nichols Chief Engineer

Rapid prototype methods range from basic fabrication/billet machining of major componets to laser sintered/3D printing of componets to allow rapid turnaround. Although the resultant parts may not be relevant for a higher volume production product, they can get the job done, which is to demonstrate the machine performance or the parent system performance.  Secondary considerations such as prime mover cooling performance are also typically quantifed in such efforts.  The rapid prototyping methods allow performance development and refinement if required.

The Technology Demonstrator concept can also be applied to a complete system, such as closed loop Rankine or Brayton power system.  The illustrated dual loop power system was created to allow testing of parallel power systems for potential space applications.  BNI modifed commercial microturbines for the closed loop duty and designed and fabricated the loop and control system to support the range of customer test profiles.Technology Demonstrator

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