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’s Science Mission Directorate’s Sensor, Detectors, and Instrument Technology Needs

The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) engages the Nation’s science community, sponsors scientific research, and develops and deploys satellites and probes in collaboration with NASA’s partners around the world to answer fundamental questions requiring the view from and into space. The National Research Council is an advisor to SMD and conducts decadal surveys to define science priorities in its discipline areas for the next decade. SMD seeks to understand the origins, evolution, and destiny of the universe and to understand the nature of the phenomena that shape it. SMD also seeks to understand:

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs


Improved Sand-Compaction Method for Lost-Foam Metal Casting

The flow of sand is redirected for better filling and compaction. An improved method of filling a molding flask with sand and compacting the sand around a refractory- coated foam mold pattern has been developed for incorporation into the lost-foam metal-casting process. In comparison with the conventional method of sand filling and compaction, this method affords more nearly complete filling of the space around the refractory-coated foam mold pattern and more thorough compaction of the sand. In so doing, this method enables the sand to better support the refractory coat under metallostatic pressure during filling of the mold with molten metal.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Casting, Foams, Metals, Refractory materials, Silicon alloys


PowerBlock™ 50

Mercury Computer Systems, Chelmsford, MA, has introduced the PowerBlock™ 50 ultra-compact rugged embedded computer for small platforms in the 6- to 10- pound range. Optimized for real-time image, sensor, and signal processing, and ruggedized for harsh environments, it is programmable and features liquid cooling. The system’s modular architecture allows for flexible configurations of multiple processors, delivering over 100 GFLOPS of processing power. A fully configured system weighs less than 10 pounds and measures 4 × 5 × 6". The system is available as a complete software development platform, including the PowerBlock 50 system, Linux BSP development environment, and a desktop heat rejection unit (HRU). The complete platform is customizable into configurations that include PowerQUICC™, Virtex™-4, and Intel processors, and SATA storage. Each configuration includes Gigabit Ethernet and RS-232 I/O interfaces. For Free Info .

Posted in: Products


This Month in NASA History

This year, as NASA celebrates its 50th anniversary, we’ll be highlighting technology innovations and important moments in NASA history, leading to our special 50th Anniversary Issue in October.

Posted in: UpFront


“Create the Future” and Win

The 2008 NASA Tech Briefs “Create the Future” Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp., opens for entries on July 7. The seventh annual contest welcomes innovative design ideas in the following categories: Machinery, Equipment, and Component Technology; Consumer Products; Medical; Safety and Security; Transportation; and Sustainable Technologies.

Posted in: UpFront


Improved Probe for Evaluating Compaction of Mold Sand

Sand is not perturbed during switching among different measurement positions. A nominally stationary tubular probe denoted a telescopic probe has been developed as an improved alternative to a prior movable probe used to evaluate the local degree of compaction of mold sand. The prior movable probe consists mainly of a vertically oriented tube with screen vents at its lower end. The upper end is connected to a source of constant airflow equipped with a pressure gauge. The probe is inserted vertically to a desired depth in a sand-filled molding flask and the back pressure at the given rate of flow of air is recorded as a measure of the degree of partial impermeability and, hence, of the degree of compaction of sand in the vicinity of the probe tip.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Molding, Test equipment and instrumentation


Environmentally Friendly Non-Stick Perfluoroalkyls

The C6 perfluoroalkyl formulation overcomes the environmental issues inherent in other perfluoroalkyl tails, and imparts non-stick properties and resistance to oil, grease, solvents, or water that are similar to C8 fluoroalkyl tails. Chemicals containing perfluoroalkyl tails are used for stain, water, oil, and grease resistance, and for their surfactant and non-stick properties. In a commercially available formulation used on a cellulose substrate, it resists oil and water penetration under either aggressive (hot polar fats) or non-aggressive conditions (ambient temperatures, non-polar oils), and is approved for paper treatment where the paper may be in contact with food.

Posted in: Techs for License


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