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Sequestration of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes in a Polymer

The nanotubes would be solubilized for incorporation into lightweight composites. Sequestration of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNs) in a suitably chosen polymer is under investigation as a means of promoting the dissolution of the nanotubes into epoxies. The purpose of this investigation is to make it possible to utilize SWCNs as the reinforcing fibers in strong, lightweight epoxy-matrix/ carbon-fiber composite materials. SWCNs are especially attractive for use as reinforcing fibers because of their stiffness and strength-to-weight ratio: Their Young’s modulus has been calculated to be 1.2 TPa, their strength has been calculated to be as much as 100 times that of steel, and their mass density is only one-sixth that of steel.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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CHEM-Based Self-Deploying Planetary Storage Tanks

A document proposes self-deploying storage tanks, based on the cold elastic hibernated memory (CHEM) concept, to be used on remote planets. The CHEM concept, described in previous NASA Tech Briefs articles, involves the use of open-cell shape-memory-polymer (SMP) foam sandwich structures to make lightweight, space-deployable structures that can be compressed for storage and can later be expanded, then rigidified for use.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Circuit and Method for Communication Over DC Power Line

New technique usable in harsh, high-heat environments, allows for networking and smart vehicle operation with no additional wiring beyond power. A circuit and method for transmitting and receiving on-off-keyed (OOK) signals with fractional signal-to-noise ratios uses available high-temperature silicon-on-insulator (SOI) components to move computational, sensing, and actuation abilities closer to high- temperature or high- ionizing radiation environments such as vehicle engine compartments, deep-hole drilling environments, industrial control and monitoring of processes like smelting, and operations near nuclear reactors and in space. This device allows for the networking of multiple, like nodes to each other and to a central processor. It can do this with nothing more than the already in-situ power wiring of the system. The device’s microprocessor allows it to make intelligent decisions within the vehicle operational loop and to effect control outputs to its associated actuators. The figure illustrates how each node converts digital serial data to OOK 18-kHz in transmit mode and vice-versa in receive mode; though operations at lower frequencies or up to a megahertz are within reason using this method and these parts.

Posted in: Semiconductors & ICs, Briefs, TSP

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Processing Satellite Imagery To Detect Waste Tire Piles

Less time is needed for searching for previously unidentified piles. A methodology for processing commercially available satellite spectral imagery has been developed to enable identification and mapping of waste tire piles in California. The California Integrated Waste Management Board initiated the project and provided funding for the method’s development. The methodology includes the use of a combination of previously commercially available image-processing and georeferencing software used to develop a model that specifically distinguishes between tire piles and other objects. The methodology reduces the time that must be spent to initially survey a region for tire sites, thereby increasing inspectors’ and managers’ time available for remediation of the sites. Remediation is needed because millions of used tires are discarded every year, waste tire piles pose fire hazards, and mosquitoes often breed in water trapped in tires. It should be possible to adapt the methodology to regions outside California by modifying some of the algorithms implemented in the software to account for geographic differences in spectral characteristics associated with terrain and climate.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Monitoring by Use of Clusters of Sensor-Data Vectors

Incoming data vectors are compared with clustered vectors representative of normal operation. The inductive monitoring system (IMS) is a system of computer hardware and software for automated monitoring of the performance, operational condition, physical integrity, and other aspects of the “health” of a complex engineering system (e.g., an industrial process line or a spacecraft). The input to the IMS consists of streams of digitized readings from sensors in the monitored system. The IMS determines the type and amount of any deviation of the monitored system from a nominal or normal (“healthy”) condition on the basis of a comparison between (1) vectors constructed from the incoming sensor data and (2) corresponding vectors in a database of nominal or normal behavior. The term “inductive” reflects the use of a process reminiscent of traditional mathematical induction to “learn” about normal operation and build the nominal-condition database. The IMS offers two major advantages over prior computational monitoring systems: The computational burden of the IMS is significantly smaller, and there is no need for abnormal-condition sensor data for training the IMS to recognize abnormal conditions.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Reusable, Extensible High-Level Data-Distribution Concept

Users can optimize distributions for parallel computing, without concern for tedious details. A framework for high-level specification of data distributions in data-parallel application programs has been conceived. [As used here, “distributions” signifies means to express locality (more specifically, locations of specified pieces of data) in a computing system composed of many processor and memory components connected by a network.] Inasmuch as distributions exert a great effect on the performances of application programs, it is important that a distribution strategy be flexible, so that distributions can be adapted to the requirements of those programs. At the same time, for the sake of productivity in programming and execution, it is desirable that users be shielded from such error-prone, tedious details as those of communication and synchronization.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Open Innovation Model Helps P&G “Connect and Develop”

By Ed Getty Research Fellow Procter & Gamble Cincinnati, OH For almost 165 of Procter & Gamble’s 170-year history, nearly all growth came from innovating within the walls of our own R&D organization. In 2000, our newly appointed CEO, A.G. Lafley, realized that P&G’s “invent it ourselves” model was not capable of sustaining high levels of top-line growth. The picture was becoming clear:

Posted in: Articles

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