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Editor's Choice: May 2015 - NASA Tech Briefs

A MEMS micro-translation stage features large linear travel capability, and can translate across long distances using just three-phase power. Essentially a linear motor built from a silicon base using microfabrication techniques, the device can be as small as 100 mm and can house lenses, mirrors, absorbers, and sampling compartments for applications in optics, communications, sensors, and biotechnology. Find out more here.

Posted in: UpFront

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A Very Special Delivery

Recently, engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama unboxed some special cargo from the International Space Station: the first items manufactured in space with a 3D printer.

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Freezing for Survival

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will have to survive the mechanically stressing conditions of launch, and the telescope and scientific instruments will have to survive the thermal shrinkage that occurs when cooling down from room temperature to the cryogenic temperatures at which they operate. This is a significant engineering challenge because the JWST and its instruments operate at extremely cold temperatures, but they are built at room temperature.

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Editor’s Choice

For 20 years, I’ve been interacting with engineers in all different industries as the Editorial Director of NASA Tech Briefs. I’ve talked with our readers about their work and the products they use. Many of them are CAD users, and many of them are unhappy with some aspect of their CAD software.

Posted in: UpFront, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

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Watching Alloys Change Could Lead to Better Metals

If you put a camera in the ice machine and watched water turn into ice, the process would look simple. But the mechanism behind liquids turning to solids is actually quite complex, and understanding it better could improve design and production of metals. A recent investigation aboard the International Space Station (ISS) involved experiments using transparent alloys to observe microstructures that form at the point the material solidifies.

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3D Printed Jet Engine Debuts

Researchers at Monash University in Australia have produced a 3D printed jet engine. Professor Xinhua Wu, head of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing (MCAM), is leading initiatives to develop 3D printing. The Centre is working to provide answers for manufacturers seeking new manufacturing processes that make components lighter and cheaper than traditional ones, but without any reduction in performance.

Posted in: UpFront, Aviation

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Readers Select 2014 Products of the Year

In December, we asked NASA Tech Briefs readers to select the one product from our 12 Products of the Month that you thought was the most significant new introduction to the design engineering community in 2014. Thanks to all of our readers who voted, and here are your winners for the 2014 NASA Tech Briefs’ Readers’ Choice Product of the Year: COMSOL Burlington, MA COMSOL Multiphysics® software version 5.0 features product updates, three new add-on products, and the new Application Builder that lets users build applications for use by engineering and manufacturing departments. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55587-124   Dewetron Wakefield, RI The TrendCorder series of instruments for basic data acquisition features intuitive, multi-touch operation, enabling them to be operated 100% by touch, including alphanumeric entry, channel setup, and display configuration. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55587-125   MSC Software Corp. Newport Beach, CA The MSC ApexTM computer-aided engineering (CAE) platform is a Computational PartsTM-based CAE system that enables predictive product development in the earlier stages of design. Integrated solver methods allow users to interactively validate parts and subsystem models. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55587-126

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