Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
Nasa Tech Briefs

Safety Modification of Cam-and-Groove Hose Coupling

Coupling halves cannot be separated while the hose is internally pressurized. A modification has been made in the mating halves of a cam-and- groove hose coupling to prevent rapid separation of the halves in the event that the cam levers are released while the fluid in the hose is pressurized. This modification can be duplicated on almost any commercially available cam-and- groove hose-coupling halves and does not interfere with most vendors’ locks that prevent accidental actuation of the cam levers.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Performance upgrades, Fittings, Parts, Valves, Hoses


Using Electronic Noses To Detect Tumors During Neurosurgery

Sensors would help surgeons determine whether tumors have been removed completely. It has been proposed to develop special-purpose electronic noses and algorithms for processing the digitized outputs of the electronic noses for determining whether tissue exposed during neurosurgery is cancerous. At present, visual inspection by a surgeon is the only available intraoperative technique for detecting cancerous tissue. Implementation of the proposal would help to satisfy a desire, expressed by some neurosurgeons, for an intraoperative technique for determining whether all of a brain tumor has been removed. The electronic-nose technique could complement multimodal imaging techniques, which have also been proposed as means of detecting cancerous tissue. There are also other potential applications of the electronic-nose technique in general diagnosis of abnormal tissue.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical, Mathematical models, Sensors and actuators, Diagnosis, Diseases, Nervous system, Surgical procedures


Producing Newborn Synchronous Mammalian Cells

This invention could be used to study aging and cancer. A method and bioreactor for the continuous production of synchronous (same age) population of mammalian cells have been invented. The invention involves the attachment and growth of cells on an adhesive-coated porous membrane immersed in a perfused liquid culture medium in a microgravity analog bioreactor. When cells attach to the surface divide, newborn cells are released into the flowing culture medium. The released cells, consisting of a uniform population of synchronous cells are then collected from the effluent culture medium. This invention could be of interest to researchers investigating the effects of the geneotoxic effects of the space environment (microgravity, radiation, chemicals, gases) and to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies involved in research on aging and cancer, and in new drug development and testing.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical, Biological sciences, Fabrication, Pharmaceuticals, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures


Smaller, Lower-Power Fast-Neutron Scintillation Detectors

There are numerous potential applications in scientific and safety-oriented monitoring of fast neutrons. Scintillation-based fast-neutron detectors that are smaller and less power-hungry than mainstream scintillation-based fast-neutron detectors are undergoing development. There are numerous applications for such detectors in monitoring fast-neutron fluxes from nuclear reactors, nuclear materials, and natural sources, both on Earth and in outer space. A particularly important terrestrial application for small, low-power, portable fast-neutron detectors lies in the requirement to scan for nuclear materials in cargo and baggage arriving at international transportation facilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Security systems, Sensors and actuators, Nuclear fuel, Air transportation facilities, Radiation


Particle-Charge Spectrometer

A flow of gas carries charged particles through a charge-sensing cylindrical electrode.An instrument for rapidly measuring the electric charges and sizes (from ≈1 to ≈100 μm) of airborne particles is undergoing development. Conceived for monitoring atmospheric dust particles on Mars, instruments like this one could also be used on Earth to monitor natural and artificial aerosols in diverse indoor and outdoor settings — for example, volcanic regions, clean rooms, powder-processing machinery, and spray-coating facilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Electromagnetic compatibility, Spectroscopy, Particulate matter (PM)


Rotationally Vibrating Electric-Field Mill

The disadvantages of rotary couplings in conventional field mills could be avoided. A proposed instrument for measuring a static electric field would be based partly on a conventional rotating- split-cylinder or rotating-split-sphere electric-field mill. However, the design of the proposed instrument would overcome the difficulty, encountered in conventional rotational field mills, of transferring measurement signals and power via either electrical or fiber-optic rotary couplings that must be aligned and installed in conjunction with rotary bearings. Instead of being made to rotate in one direction at a steady speed as in a conventional rotational field mill, a split-cylinder or split-sphere electrode assembly in the proposed instrument would be set into rotational vibration like that of a metronome. The rotational vibration, synchronized with appropriate rapid electronic switching of electrical connections between electric-current-measuring circuitry and the split-cylinder or split-sphere electrodes, would result in an electrical measurement effect equivalent to that of a conventional rotational field mill.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Measurements, Electrical systems, Fiber optics, Switches, Test equipment and instrumentation


Estimating Hardness From the USDC Tool-Bit Temperature Rise

Temperature rise during drilling is correlated with hardness of the drilled material. A method of real-time quantification of the hardness of a rock or similar material involves measurement of the temperature, as a function of time, of the tool bit of an ultrasonic/sonic drill corer (USDC) that is being used to drill into the material. The method is based on the idea that, other things being about equal, the rate of rise of temperature and the maximum temperature reached during drilling increase with the hardness of the drilled material.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Soils, Drilling, Materials properties, Thermal testing


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