Special Coverage

Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
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

Positive-Locking Fastener

Phil-Lok Fastener

Most locking fastener systems use some sort of vibrationresistant method to prevent fastener loosening. The most common method is the lock washer, in use for over 100 years. Although lock washers will inhibit rotation of the nut by increasing friction, they do not provide a positive rotation stopping force. Similarly, nylon inserts can increase frictional forces.

Posted in: Techs for License

Low-Cost “Green” Coatings Modify Metal Surfaces


Greenkote coating technology is a coating method for steel and other metals that can replace a range of existing coating methods. The coating is environmentally friendly, and it is applicable to a range of base materials. In the process, parts are introduced to a rotating oven, along with powder. The powder content and the thermal cycle define the characteristics of the coating and surface. Atoms of the desired metal diffuse into the surface of the part, growing the coating from within the surface. The Greenkote technology has the following advantages over regular diffusion coatings: uses 90% less powder, uses 50% less energy and thermal cycle time, and there is a virtually infinite number of possible coatings.

Posted in: Techs for License

Technology for Drilling, Cutting, and Separating Materials

A company seeks alternative methods for sawing, drilling, boring, cutting, or otherwise separating materials such as wood, metal, and composites. When compared to conventional methods, the new technology should be faster, easier, provide a cleaner cut in terms of smoothness and dust in the work area, and offer a long tool life. It must minimize noise levels, require low physical force during operation, and be safe for use in an open environment.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

Improving Thermoplastic Performance Using Additives and Reinforcers

A company seeks to improve the performance properties of polyolefins, polyethylenes, and thermoplastics. Additives, ingredients, fillers, modifiers, agents, and other methods are all of interest. Properties of interest include lighter weight, higer modulus, increased tensile strength, improved impact and heat resistance, decreased density, minimal shrinkage, improved surface finish and appearance, and improved scratch resistance, surface hardness, and stiffness.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

Purge Monitoring Technology for Gaseous Helium (GHe) Conservation

John C. Stennis Space Center provides rocket engine propulsion testing for the NASA space programs. Since the development of the Space Shuttle, every Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) has gone through acceptance testing before going to Kennedy Space Center for integration into the Space Shuttle. The SSME is a large cryogenic rocket engine that uses Liquid Oxygen (LO2) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) as propellants. Due to the extremely cold cryogenic conditions of this environment, an inert gas, helium, is used as a purge for the engine and propellant lines since it can be used without freezing in the cryogenic environment.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

ICER-3D Hyperspectral Image Compression Software

Software has been developed to implement the ICER-3D algorithm. ICER-3D effects progressive, threedimensional (3D), wavelet-based compression of hyperspectral images. If a compressed data stream is truncated, the progressive nature of the algorithm enables reconstruction of hyperspectral data at fidelity commensurate with the given data volume.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization

Context Modeler for Wavelet Compression of Spectral Hyperspectral Images

A context-modeling subalgorithm has been developed as part of an algorithm that effects three-dimensional (3D) wavelet-based compression of hyperspectral image data. The context-modeling subalgorithm, hereafter denoted the context modeler, provides estimates of probability distributions of wavelet-transformed data being encoded. These estimates are utilized by an entropy coding subalgorithm that is another major component of the compression algorithm. The estimates make it possible to compress the image data more effectively than would otherwise be possible.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Mathematical models, Imaging and visualization

Two Concepts for Deployable Trusses

Thermal-actuation and misalignment-tolerant double-pivot designs are proposed.

Two concepts that could be applied separately or together have been suggested to enhance the utility of deployable truss structures. The concepts were intended originally for application to a truss structure to be folded for compact stowage during transport and subsequently deployed in outer space. The concepts may also be applicable, with some limitations, to deployable truss structures designed to be used on Earth.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Aircraft structures, Design processes, Spacecraft

Use of Nanofibers to Strengthen Hydrogels of Silica, Other Oxides, and Aerogels

Research has shown that including up to 5 percent w/w carbon nanofibers in a silica backbone of polymer crosslinked aerogels improves its strength, tripling compressive modulus and increasing tensile stress-at-break fivefold with no increase in density or decrease in porosity. In addition, the initial silica hydrogels, which are produced as a first step in manufacturing the aerogels, can be quite fragile and difficult to handle before cross-linking. The addition of the carbon nanofiber also improves the strength of the initial hydrogels before cross-linking, improving the manufacturing process. This can also be extended to other oxide aerogels, such as alumina or aluminosilicates, and other nanofiber types, such as silicon carbide.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Nanomaterials, Polymers

Concentric Nested Toroidal Inflatable Structures

Interior volume can be partitioned more flexibly than in single larger structures.

Assemblies comprising multiple limited-height toroidal inflatable structures nested in a concentric arrangement have been invented to obtain more design flexibility than can be obtained in single taller, wider toroidal inflatable structures (see figure). Originally intended for use as containers for habitats for humans in outer space or on remote planets, these and related prior inflatable structures could also be useful on Earth as lightweight, compactly stowable, portable special-purpose buildings that could be transported to remote locations and there inflated to full size and shape.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Product development, Containers, Packaging, Protective structures

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