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
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Fuel-Cell Water Separator

NASA Glenn Research Center has designed, built, and tested an innovative fuel-cell water separator that not only removes liquid water from a fuel cell’s exhaust ports, but does so with no moving parts or other power-consuming components. The separator employs the potential and kinetic energies already present in the moving exhaust flow.

Posted in: Briefs, GDM, Briefs, TSP, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation

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Dr. Luz Marina Calle, Lead Scientist and Principal Investigator, Corrosion Technology Laboratory, Kennedy Space Center

Dr. Luz Marina Calle earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Ohio University and shortly thereafter became a professor of chemistry at Randolph College in Virginia. In 1989, she was selected to participate in NASA’s Summer Faculty Fellowship program at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Her summer work at KSC continued for a decade while performing her duties as professor and chair of the chemistry department at Randoph College. In 2000, Dr. Calle joined NASA permanently. She now leads NASA’s Corrosion Technology Laboratory at KSC.

Posted in: Podcasts

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Inexpensive Packaged Subharmonic Down-Converter MMICs

MMICs like these could be used in microwave digital communication receivers. Two packaged monolithic microwave integrated-circuit (MMIC) mixers have been designed to operate as subharmonically pumped frequency down-converters in receivers of satellite- or ground-based digital communication systems. One operates a radio frequency (RF) between 17 and 20 GHz, the other at an RF between 22 and 32 GHz (see Figure 1). These MMICs are of a type described in "MMIC Converters for K- and Ka-Band Communications" (LEW-16752), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 23, No. 7 (July 1999), page 59. The approach taken in developing this type of MMIC is one of minimizing costs by relying on well established design practices and mature, commercially available processes for fabrication of MMIC chips.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, Integrated circuits, Radar, Satellite communications, Wireless communication systems

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Extended Shelf Life for PMR Polyimide Resins and Prepregs

Secondary alcohols are used in place of primary alcohols. An improved class of formulations for PMR polyimide resins retards the imidization that undesirably occurs during handling and storage. While imidization is desired at the final (deliberate polymerization) stage of production of a polyimide, imidization results in premature aging when it occurs during earlier stages of synthesis, shipping, prepregging, and fabrication layup. By retarding imidization at storage and handling temperatures, the improved class of formulations increases both shelf life and the upper limit of allowable temperature for handling and storage prior to final polymerization.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Performance upgrades, Storage, Resins, Durability

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Silica-Filled EPDM Rubbers as Ablative Insulating Materials

These materials are intended to replace other materials that will soon be unavailable. Silica-filled polymers made from ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) have been found to be useful as ablative thermal-insulation materials. These polymers have been investigated as candidates to replace some previously developed polymeric ablative rocket-engine insulating materials that will soon become commercially unavailable. Although these materials have been developed specifically for use in and on solid-fuel rocket motors, they may also be useful in terrestrial applications in which there are requirements for protection against high temperatures for short times.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Elastomers, Heat resistant materials, Insulation, Rocket engines

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Statistical Sampling of Tide Heights Study

The goal of the study was to determine if it was possible to reduce the cost of verifying computational models of tidal waves and currents. Statistical techniques were used to determine the least number of samples required, in a given situation, to remain statistically significant, and thereby reduce overall project costs. Commercial, academic, and Federal agencies could benefit by applying these techniques, without the need to “touch” every item in the population. For example, the requirement of this project was to measure the heights and times of high and low tides at 8,000 locations for verification of computational models of tidal waves and currents. The application of the statistical techniques began with observations to determine the correctness of submitted measurement data, followed by some assumptions based on the observations.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Computational fluid dynamics, Mathematical models, Statistical analysis, Water, Marine vehicles and equipment

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Wafer-Level Lens Alignment

Over one billion cell phones with cameras are sold every year, and this number has been increasing annually at a rate of about 15 percent for the past 7 years. Approximately 80 percent of cell phones now have embedded cameras, with about 20 percent of new cell phones having two cameras – one on the back for taking photographs and one on the front for videoconferencing.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Photonics, Calibration, Downsizing, Optics, Assembling

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