Controlling and metering flows in harsh environments.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a device and method for blocking the flow of fluid from an open pipe. Motivated by the sea-bed oil-drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, NASA innovators designed the device to plug, control, and meter the flow of gases and liquids. Anchored with friction fittings, spikes, or explosively activated fasteners, the device is well-suited for harsh environments and high fluid velocities and pressures. With the addition of instrumentation, it can also be used as a variable area flow metering valve that can be set based upon flow conditions. With robotic additions, this patent-pending innovation can be configured to crawl into a pipe then anchor and activate itself to block or control fluid flow.