VIBRATION ISOLATION OF EXERCISE TREADMILL IN MICROGRAVITY

Period of Performance: 01/01/1989 - 12/31/1989

$50K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Triangle Research and Development Corporation
PO Box 12696
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Principal Investigator

Abstract

A PHASE I PROGRAM IS PROPOSED TO INVESTIGATE THE TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY FOR DEVELOPMENT OF AN EFFECTIVE MEANS OF VIBRATION ISOLATION OF THE TREADMILL EXERCISE MACHINE TO BE USED IN THE SPACE STATION. THIS EQUIPMENT IS NECESSARY TO PROVIDE THE REQUIRED EXERCISE NEEDED TO AVOID OR MINIMIZE CALCIUM LOSS IN THE LONG LOAD-BEARING BONES OF ASTRONAUTS. AT THE PRESENT TIME, THE TREADMILL MACHINES USED IN SPACE ARE MAN-OPERATED TREADMILLS THAT SUPPLY THE REQUIREMENT FOR DAILY EXERCISE. PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS, HOWEVER, HAS INDICATED THAT THE PRESENT SYSTEM CAN TRANSMIT THE VIBRATIONOF RUNNING TO THE STRUCTURE OF THE SPACE SHIP AND INTRODUCESUNDESIRABLE VIBRATIONS INTO ITS MICROGRAVITY ENVIRONMENT. IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT SUCH OSCILLATORY ACCELERATIONS AND VIBRATIONS COULD NEGATIVELY IMPACT SENSITIVE ONBOARD EXPERIMENTS. WE PROPOSE TO INVESTIGATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN ACTIVE ISOLATION SYSTEM BASED UPON SUPERIOR DAMPING CHARACTERISTICS OF ELECTRORHEOLOGICAL FLUIDS. THESE SHOCK ABSORBERS COULD BE PLACED BENEATH THE EXERCISE PLATFORM AND ISOLATE THE VIBRATION AND NOISE TO THE FLOOR OF THE SPACE SHIP.