Special Coverage

Applying the Dynamic Inertia Measurement Method to Full-Scale Aerospace Vehicles
Method and Apparatus for Measuring Surface Air Pressure
Fully Premixed, Low-Emission, High-Pressure, Multi-Fuel Burner
Self-Healing Wire Insulation
Thermomechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Response
Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams
High Field Superconducting Magnets

Researchers Propose Modular Space Telescope

Researchers from California Institute of Technology are proposing the idea of a modular space telescope that could be assembled by robots. The space observatory would have a primary mirror with a diameter of 100 meters — 40 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Posted in: News, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics


Multi-Phase Ceramic System

Bearing surfaces are typically either metal-on-metal (MOM), ceramic-on-ceramic (COC), or metal-on-polyethylene (MOP). MOM and MOP couplings have the drawback that metallic or polyethylene particles can sometimes separate from the couplings, which can cause significant problems, particularly in a hip or joint replacement. COC couplings are less likely to lose particles due to wear, which makes them more biocompatible, but they are more susceptible to fracture. COC couplings also have a tendency to squeak as they move. Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a technique using rare earth elements to fabricate a dual-phase ceramic composite that combines a wear-resistant phase and a solid-state lubricant phase. The result is a coupling material that, compared to currently used materials, exhibits a tenfold reduction in the friction coefficient, a sixfold reduction in wear, and a significant reduction in debris caused by wear. Glenn’s groundbreaking rare-earth aluminate composite has considerable potential, not only in biomedical applications, but also in commercial and industrial sectors.

Posted in: Briefs, Ceramics, Materials


Flexible Volumetric Structure

These composite elastic skins can be tailored for specific applications.NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed composite elastic skins for covering shape-changing (morphable) structures. These skins are intended especially for use on advanced aircraft that change shapes in order to assume different aerodynamic properties. Examples of aircraft shape changes include growth or shrinkage of bumps, conformal changes in wing planforms, cambers, twists, and bending of integrated leading and trailing-edge flaps. Prior to this invention, there was no way of providing smooth aerodynamic surfaces capable of large deflections while maintaining smoothness and sufficient rigidity.

Posted in: Briefs, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials


Aeroplastic Composites

Aeroplastic refers to a family of polymeric composites with properties that provide a significant reduction in heat transfer. These composites reduce the thermal conductivity of the base polymer resin between 20%-50% without changing its mechanical properties or modifying the original techniques for processing those polymers. The composites can be made into fibers, molded, or otherwise processed into usable articles. Aeroplastic composites are superior alternatives to prior composite materials with respect to both their thermal conductivity and physical properties.

Posted in: Briefs, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials


Products of Tomorrow: October 2016

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping


Seeing Closer and Clearer with NASA Imaging Technology

From mapping asteroids and planets, to recording rocket engine tests, to seeing farther into the human brain, NASA’s imaging technologies are giving scientists and engineers closer, more detailed views than ever before.NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-Rex) spacecraft launched on September 8 to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to Earth for study. But before the science team selects a sample site, they can find out a bit about Bennu’s elemental make-up.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace


Unmanned Research Aircraft Test Cutting-Edge Innovations

NASA-funded aircraft tests parameters that can’t be modeled in simulations.Born out of a desire for aircraft to be able to take off and land capably at airports with shorter runways to alleviate congestion at the major hubs, the circulation control wing concept has been floated by the aeronautical community as a possible solution for decades. The technology calls for increased amounts of high-pressure air, derived from either the jet engines or separate compressors, to flow over the leading and trailing edges of the wings, creating greater lift. Given extra lift, an aircraft can take off and land at a lower speed, thus reducing the length of runway needed. Extra lift also enables increased weight-carrying capacity.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff, Aerospace


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