Special Coverage

High Field Superconducting Magnets
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method
Sonar Inspection Robot System
Lightweight Internal Device to Measure Tension in Hollow- Braided Cordage
System, Apparatus, and Method for Pedal Control
Dust Tolerant Connectors

Trajectory Calculator for Finite-Radius Cutter on a Lathe

A computer program calculates the two- dimensional trajectory (radial vs. axial position) of a finite-radius-of- curvature cutting tool on a lathe so as to cut a workpiece to a piecewise-continuous, analytically defined surface of revolution. (In the original intended application, the tool is a diamond cutter, and the workpiece is made of a crystalline material and is to be formed into an optical resonator disk.) The program also calculates an optimum cutting speed as F/L, where F is a material-dependent empirical factor and L is the effective instantaneous length of the cutting edge.

Posted in: Briefs, Software


A Simplified Diagnostic Method for Elastomer Bond Durability

Less time and equipment are needed. A simplified method has been developed for determining bond durability under exposure to water or high humidity conditions. It uses a small number of test specimens with relatively short times of water exposure at elevated temperature. The method is also gravimetric; the only equipment being required is an oven, specimen jars, and a conventional laboratory balance.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials


Very High Output Thermoelectric Devices Based on ITO Nanocomposites

Thermocouples based on this material perform better than precious-metal thermocouples. A material having useful thermoelectric properties was synthesized by combining indium-tin-oxide (ITO) with a NiCoCrAlY alloy/alumina cermet. This material had a very large Seebeck coefficient with electromotive- force-versus- temperature behavior that is considered to be excellent with respect to utility in thermocouples and other thermoelectric devices. When deposited in thin-film form, ceramic thermocouples offer advantages over precious-metal (based, variously, on platinum or rhodium) thermocouples that are typically used in gas turbines. Ceramic thermocouples exhibit high melting temperatures, chemical stability at high temperatures, and little or no electromigration. Oxide ceramics also resist oxidation better than metal thermocouples, cost substantially less than precious-metal thermocouples, and, unlike precious-metal thermocouples, do not exert catalytic effects.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials


Complex Multifunctional Polymer/Carbon-Nanotube Composites

CNTs are treated and incorporated into composites to obtain enhanced properties. A methodology for developing complex multifunctional materials that consist of or contain polymer/ carbon-nanotube composites has been conceived. As used here, “multifunctional” signifies having additional and/or enhanced physical properties that polymers or polymer- matrix composites would not ordinarily be expected to have. Such properties include useful amounts of electrical conductivity, increased thermal conductivity, and/or increased strength. In the present methodology, these properties are imparted to a given composite through the choice and processing of its polymeric and CNT constituents.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials


Ultrasonic/Sonic Anchor

The anchor can be embedded or de-embedded with minimal axial force. The ultrasonic/sonic anchor (U/S anchor) is an anchoring device that drills a hole for itself in rock, concrete, or other similar material. The U/S anchor is a recent addition to a series of related devices, the first of which were reported in “Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors” (NPO-20856), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2003), page 38. There are numerous potential uses for U/S anchors, especially in enabling walking robots and humans to climb steep rock faces for diverse purposes, including scientific exploration, recreational rock climbing, military maneuvers, and search and rescue.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components


Medical Design Advances Provide New Diagnostic and Treatment Options

Advances in medical design are paving the way for diagnostic and treatment options that previously were thought to be impossible. Today, surgeons, emergency medical personnel, and other healthcare professionals have a myriad of tools and techniques at their fingertips to help treat disease, create better orthopedic equipment and implants, and more accurately diagnose patients. Here is only a sampling of some of these new medical design breakthroughs.

Posted in: Articles


Grooved Fuel Rings for Nuclear Thermal Rocket Engines

Improvements in performance, fabrication, and reliability are anticipated. An alternative design concept for nuclear thermal rocket engines for interplanetary spacecraft calls for the use of grooved-ring fuel elements. Beyond spacecraft rocket engines, this concept also has potential for the design of terrestrial and spacecraft nuclear electric-power plants.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences


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