Nasa Tech Briefs

Winner of an HP Workstation

Internally Radiating Impulse Structure (IRIS) Engine

Corban Tillemann-Dick
Tendix LLC
Denver, CO

The vast majority of internal combustion engines we use for transportation and commerce run at approximately 25% efficiency. Tendix LLC has developed a new family of engines that dramatically enhance fuel efficiency, effectively prolonging the viability of global petroleum reserves, and significantly reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

Internally Radiating Impulse Structure (IRIS) Engine
The Internally Radiating Impulse Structure (IRIS) overcomes many of the underlying shortcomings of modern engines by fundamentally changing the geometry of the combustion chamber. The IRIS changes the combustion chamber’s design from one piston in a cylinder to six “chordons,” which act as expanding walls. Existing chamber designs become longer during combustion. In contrast, the IRIS chamber expands in diameter. This design innovation means the vast majority of the IRIS’s surface area reacts productively to the forces of combustion, generating torque throughout each combustion cycle. Surfaces exposed to combusting gases in an engine can react either productively, by moving, or wastefully by heating. In traditional engines, an average of less than 25% of the combustion chamber’s surface area is productive. In an IRIS, that average skyrockets to more than 70% of the chamber’s surface area. Furthermore, because so much of the chamber is productive, gases can expand further than in an ordinary engine before opening the exhaust valves. This means that an IRIS engine also captures energy that previously flowed out the exhaust pipe.

IRIS engines avoid the shortcomings of alternative systems such as hybrids, electrics, or fuel cells. These systems offer only marginal increases in efficiency; negatively impact weight, range, and power; or rely on infrastructure and technology that are still decades from viability. IRIS engines are substantially smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient. They are compatible with existing infrastructure, and are built with conventional materials and machining.

In the future, it can be adapted to run on alternative fuels such as biodiesel, natural gas, or hydrogen. IRIS technology can also be utilized to create dramatically more efficient pumps, compressors, and medical devices.

For more information, visit www.irisengine.com, or contact the inventor at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Honorable Mentions


Submerged Water-Jet Marine Propulsion

Brian O’Connor
Encinitas, CA

To reduce fuel consumption and associated environmental impact of marine vessels, this submerged water-jet marine propulsion system utilizes a commercially proven, positive displacement pump; specifically, a lobe pump that has dual helical rotors to move and hydrostatically pressurize the water rather than an axial flow impeller. Flow from the pump is discharged longitudinally beneath the vessel through a discharge opening that contains a movable center-body. Translation of the center-body results in a change in the cross-sectional area of the discharge opening, thereby creating a variable area discharge. The liquid flow through the system is essentially linear, thus eliminating the radial flow component inherent in propeller propulsion.

Water flows through the inlet grille into the rotating chambers of the lobe pump, where both potential and kinetic energy is added to the liquid stream. Dynamic forces of the liquid stream try to force the discharge center-body into a fully extended position, but a double-acting hydraulic piston allows the liquid throttling mechanism to modulate to a pre-determined discharge area. To reverse the vessel, simply reverse the pump rotation.


Truck Trunk Storage Unit

Gavin Wolchina
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Truck Trunk Storage Unit
The Truck Trunk is a lockable and movable storage chest that is mounted to a truck bed on rails. It can be positioned securely at any point in the truck bed, but is normally all the way forward (immediately behind the cab). On the top at either side is a two-way lever that is spring-loaded to rest in the middle. Sliding the lever either forwards or backwards releases the locking mechanism and allows the Truck Trunk to slide freely along the tracks with ease in the direction of the lever pull. Releasing the handle immediately engages the locking mechanism.

Lowering the lift gate on the truck and positioning the truck trunk at the rear of the bed allows for easy access without having to climb into the truck bed. The Truck Trunk itself has a locking door for security. It is sealed against the elements so that items placed inside remain dry and clean.

For more information, contact the inventor at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Meet the Judges, "Create the Future" 2007 Design Contest

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