Special Coverage

Self-Healing Wire Insulation
Thermomechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Response
Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams
High Field Superconducting Magnets
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method
Strat-X
Sonar Inspection Robot System
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Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC)

This technology has potential applications in aircraft, turbine engines, automobiles, and any application requiring thermal protection surfaces. The Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC) allows for much more affordable and sustainable operations involving Space Launch Services and other systems that utilize Earth re-entry vehicles. TUFROC has an exposed surface design and appropriate materials combination that will allow a space vehicle to survive both the mechanical stresses during launch and the extreme heating and stress of re-entry. It provides a thermal protection tile attachment system that is suitable for not only spacecraft applications, but also could be used where there are extreme heating environments [up to 3100 °F for 5 to 10 minutes and 3600 °F, and possibly higher, for very short time intervals (one-minute or less)].

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Effects of Postcure and Associated Design Allowables for M55J/RS-3C Polycyanate Composite

M55J/RS-3C resin composite structures on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) sunshield will concurrently maintain loads and be exposed to temperature extremes throughout the life of the observatory. Increasing the glass transition temperature (Tg) is intended to decrease the elevated temperature creep of the composite structures (increase dimensional stability). Also, material allowables for RS-3C at temperatures other than ambient had not been previously published at NGAS.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Airfoil System for Cruising Flight

Biologically inspired wing flow control uses flexible extended trailing edge. Flaps can significantly alter wing aerodynamics for high lift generation. Conventional flaps are mainly deployed for takeoff and landing, but are not suitable for in-cruise flight. It is widely speculated that birds and insects utilize their wing flexibility, particularly at the trailing edges, for effective control in different regimes. For example, the avian wing geometries of mergansers and owls possess a single layer of feathers extended from an airfoil section of their wings, which improves the global aerodynamic characteristics. Avian wing geometry inspired the concept of a static extended trailing edge (SETE), where the main airfoil is extended at the trailing edge by attaching a flexible polymer membrane with suitable length and rigidity. Based upon experimental results and CFD simulation, it was determined that if SETE was implemented on a fixed-wing aircraft, it had the potential to improve cruise flight aerodynamic efficiency up to 10% and reduce fuel consumption up to 5%.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics

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Conditionally Active Min-Max Limit Regulators

The control system in modern commercial aircraft engines is designed to operate the engine in a safe manner throughout its operating envelope. In order to utilize the existing safety margins more effectively, innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a modification to current min-max engine control logic. This architecture is referred to as a conditionally active (CA) limit regulator. This concept uses the existing min-max architecture with the modification that limit regulators are active only when the operating point is close to a particular limit, improving engine response while preserving all necessary safety limits. An improvement in thrust response, while maintaining all necessary safety limits, was also demonstrated.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics

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Design of the Next-Generation Aircraft Noise Prediction Program (ANOPP2)

This program accurately predicts noise from both current and future concept aircraft and propulsion systems. Community noise has been an ongoing problem for aircraft, and is projected to be a major concern in the future due to increased air traffic. NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP), Integrated Aviation Systems Program (IASP), and Transformative Aeronautics Concepts Program (TACP) include multi-disciplinary efforts to cultivate new technologies and mature existing technologies from conceptual design to the current airspace system. Specifically, TACP’s Transformational Tools and Technologies (TTT) project focuses on developing new computer-based tools, models, and knowledge that provide a first-of-a-kind capability to analyze and predict performance of new aircraft concepts. Both conventional and unconventional aircraft designs continue to be evaluated, where assessments are performed using aircraft noise prediction and measured data, if available. The accuracy of the assessments, particularly for unconventional aircraft where measurement data is typically nonexistent, relies solely on the prediction. Hence, any comprehensive aircraft noise prediction method must contain the capability for application to new designs, and the reliability to predict outside the current experience base.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics

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The Integrated Minimum Drag Solution: New Wing Design Exponentially Increases Total Aircraft Efficiency

This technology also applies to propulsion systems and turbines. Innovators at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are experimenting with a new wing design that removes adverse yaw and dramatically increases aircraft efficiency by reducing drag. The technology has the potential to significantly increase total aircraft efficiency by optimizing overall aircraft configuration through the reduction in size or removal of the vertical tail, as well as the reduction of structural weight.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics

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X-Plane Communication Toolbox (XPC)

The X-Plane Connect Toolbox is an open-source research tool used to interact with the commercial flight simulator software X-Plane. XPC allows users to control aircraft and receive real-time state information from aircraft simulated in X-Plane using functions written in C, C++, Java, MathWorks’ MATLAB, or Python in real time over the network. This research tool has been used to visualize flight paths, test control algorithms, generate ghost traffic, create third-party autopilot, perform hardware-in-the-loop testing, simulate an active airspace, or generate out-the-window visuals for in-house flight simulation software. Possible applications include active control of an X-Plane simulation, flight visualization, recording states during a flight, or interacting with a mission over UDP.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics

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