Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Micro-Scale Positive-Negative Air Pressure Control

Request Number
Due Date
Feb 23, 2016
Program Manager

RFP Custom Information

Ohio Third Frontier Gallery Request


Program Manager:

Nick Kacsandi, M.S.



Please refer to the “Items To Be Submitted” section in the document below for the full list of non-confidential information requested by the client. The client seeks external partners for a range of opportunities, including contract research, custom design, joint development, technology licensing, and supply of commercial technologies.




The client plans to conduct preliminary discussions with top-rated partners by March 2016.


Phase 1: Proof of technical concept (6 months)

Phase 2: Further timelines or milestones will vary depending on the nature of the proposed engagement.




Funding exists for a range of opportunities including consulting, testing, proof of concept, and/or technology development / acquisition / licensing. Financial terms may vary depending on the nature and scope of the proposed business arrangement. All final terms and conditions are subject to direct negotiation with the client.




Phone: +1-216-283-3901

RFP was closed on

RFP Title


Micro-Scale Positive-Negative Air Pressure Control
RFP Description
NineSigma, on behalf of a North American Industrial Products Supplier, invites proposals for innovative pressure management technologies that can rapidly respond to both positive and negative variations in air pressure at a micro scale.

NineSigma’s client manufactures a range of products that are designed to allow tightly controlled throughput of fluids within an enclosed system. In the dynamic stage, the force of gravity is sufficient to induce fluid flow. However, when fluids are static (i.e. not moving through the system) a neutral air pressure relative to the surrounding environment must be maintained. Otherwise, undesirable effects such as backflow, unwanted discharge, line drying and contamination may occur.


A robust pressure control system is required to adjust for micro-scale variations in air pressure both upstream and downstream to maintain this balance during the static stage and to prevent backflow. The primary forces which must be controlled for include: 1) air compression pushing back on fluids in the downstream environment (requiring pressure relief); and 2) negative pressure build-up causing suction upstream (requiring ventilation). Furthermore, the rapid influx of fluids and associated flow-through occurs frequently within the system causing significant variations in pressure levels throughout.


NineSigma’s client has conducted significant research and development in this area; however, an optimal solution is still needed. Current solutions meet many of the desired functional criteria, yet lack the precision and reliability necessary to meet evolving and stricter end-user demands. In particular, there is a need for enhanced performance in response to a wider range of micro-pressure variations needed to maintain systemic equilibrium. It is believed that solutions may exist within adjacent industries that can be adapted to meet the client’s performance requirements. Novel solutions are sought from interested collaborative partners from across the landscape of industry, research and academia.



Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

  • Allow upstream ventilation or otherwise alleviate a negative pressure scenario


  • Allow downstream air pressure release or otherwise alleviate a positive pressure scenario
    • Should not allow the release or leakage of any liquids

Additionally, the ideal solution will:

  • Respond to micro-scale air pressure deviations from ambient:
    • Pressure range: Vacuum to 5psi
    • Pressure variability limits: +/-0.01 psi
  • Operate in the continuous presence of fluids within an enclosed space
  • In commercial applications:
    • Require little or no routine maintenance or service after initial installation.
      • Service life: 5+ years from installation.
    • Be easy to install and remove.


In the client’s application, the system can experience build-up of odorous gases (primarily H2S). Technologies that are capable of controlling or neutralizing these undesirable compounds in addition to pressure management are of significant interest.



Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Novel valve technologies, such as:
    • Leak-free relief valves
    • Shape memory technologies
    • Electro-actuated technologies
  • High precision actuators and control systems
  • Technologies adapted from hydraulic or pneumatic systems
  • Intelligent sensors, electronics or monitoring technologies, such as:
    • Piezoelectronics
    • Automated systems
    • Devices that detect intrusion of gases into the area
  • Technologies that can be adapted from applications involving gas / liquid material combinations, mixed gases, phase change materials, etc.
  • Approaches from adjacent industry applications where continuous pressure management is required within an enclosed system, including but not limited to:
    • Aerospace
    • Automotive
    • Food & beverage
    • Electronics & semiconductors
    • Healthcare & medical devices
    • Industrial processing equipment
    • Mechanical design & engineering
    • Water management


Please note that integrated technologies which can be connected to or adapted for operation with smart-home systems are of significant interest.



Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:


  • One-time or limited use technologies
  • Technologies that cannot withstand constant changes in pressure, both upstream and downstream
  • Technologies that restrict fluid flow
  • Technologies that are not resistant to variable temperatures and fluids characteristics.
  • Solutions that require mechanical or manual intervention


Items to be Submitted

Your response should address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology
    • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, prototype, ready to commercialize, commercialized)
    • Position on intellectual property
    • Supporting documentation (product literature, publications, patents, etc.)
  • Compatibility of the proposed solution with the requirements outlined in the “Key Success Criteria” section above
  • Discussion of how to resolve unmet “Key Success Criteria” above
  • Performance data, if available
  • Proposed timeline achieve Proof of Concept OR Pathway to Commercialization (if applicable)
  • Budget / Cost information, if available
  • Desired relationship with the sponsor
  • Proposed financials
    • Cost/price per unit
    • Development, optimization or testing budget
    • Commercial fees for licensing, supply, etc. (if applicable)
  • Overview of team experience and professional / technical expertise



Expiration Date
Preferred Collaboration Types