Special Coverage

Applying the Dynamic Inertia Measurement Method to Full-Scale Aerospace Vehicles
Method and Apparatus for Measuring Surface Air Pressure
Fully Premixed, Low-Emission, High-Pressure, Multi-Fuel Burner
Self-Healing Wire Insulation
Thermomechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Response
Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams
High Field Superconducting Magnets

A High-Efficiency Power Module

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a microwave power module to power radar, communications, and/or navigation interchangeably. This high-efficiency, all-solid-state microwave power module (MPM) is based on a multi-stage distributed-amplifier design, which is capable of very wideband operation. This MPM is extremely durable and can last a decade or longer. Already more compact and lightweight than conventional designs, Glenn’s patented technique offers further size reduction by eliminating the need for either a traveling-wave tube amplifier or its accompanying kV-class electronic power conditioner. The performance of this MPM is exceptional, with much higher cut-off frequency and maximum frequency of oscillation than metal-semiconductor field-effect transistors offer, and the distributed amplifier’s wide bandwidth also results in much faster pulse rise times. Finally, Glenn’s design allows the module to operate in both pulsed and continuous wave modes, so it can single-handedly drive exceptional performance for radar, navigation, and communications.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics


Addendum of Self-Aligned Ion Implant to Design and Processing of SiC High-Temperature Transistors for Durable Operation Above 400 °C

Applications include aerospace, oil and gas combustion, well drilling, transportation, and computers.Researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a revolutionary new generation of silicon carbide (SiC) integrated circuit (IC) chips, setting an unprecedented benchmark in the field of high-temperature electronics. In the past, SiC ICs could not withstand more than a few hours of 500 °C temperatures before degrading or failing. Now, Glenn has successfully fabricated prototype chips that can exceed 10,000 hours of continuous operation at 500 °C. The advanced performance stems in part from the development of Glenn’s patented iridium interfacial stack (IrIS), a bondable metallization stack that prevents diffusion of oxygen and gold into silicon carbide (SiC) integrated circuits operating above 500 °C. The enhanced reliability of these components (and the transistors and logic boards they support) will enable important improvements in the control and operation of combustion engines, well-drilling, and other harsh environment systems, thereby greatly impacting operational efficiency and environmental quality. This advance in the manufacture of SiC-based electronics also fundamentally revolutionizes the opportunities for intelligent systems operating in high-temperature environments.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers


Jet Engine Exhaust Nozzle Flow Effector

Shape memory alloy provides variable shape control of aircraft structure through actively deformable surfaces.NASA’s Langley Research Center has created novel flow effector technology for separation control and enhanced mixing. The technology allows for variable shape control of aircraft structure through actively deformable surfaces. The flow effectors are made by embedding shape memory alloy actuator material in a composite structure. When thermally actuated, the flow effector deflects into or out of the flow in a prescribed manner to enhance mixing or induce separation for a variety of applications, including aeroacoustic noise reduction, drag reduction, and flight control. NASA developed the active flow effectors for noise reduction as an alternative to fixed-configuration effectors, such as static chevrons, that cannot be optimized for airframe installation effects or variable operating conditions, and cannot be retracted for off-design or failsafe conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Aviation, Mechanics


A Structural Joint with Multi-Axis Load Carrying Capacity

The technology can be used in aerospace and automotive applications, outdoor structures, and sporting goods.NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a composite joint connector that is more structurally efficient than joints currently on the market. Traditionally, composite joints can bear heavy loads along their length but tend to fail when stress is applied along multiple axes. This joint is designed to minimize stress concentrations, leading to overall increased structural efficiency when compared to traditional joints.

Posted in: Briefs, Joining & Assembly, Mechanics


Eddy-Current-Minimizing Flow Plug for Use in Flow Conditioning and Flow Metering

Innovators at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a suite of prototype fluid plug technologies with an array of capabilities for fluid flow metering, mixing, and conditioning. Each innovation within this suite is based upon a core technology that has no moving parts, is simple to manufacture, and provides high reliability and efficiency. Also, the base fluid plug technology can be modified with very few or no hardware changes to achieve the desired effect or combination of mixing, metering, and conditioning capabilities depending on the application.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics


Process for Forming a High-Temperature Single Crystal Preloader

Non-contacting, acoustic pressure seals and preloader superalloys prevent fluid leakage.Friction has long been a thorny problem for sealing-device designers. Traditional sealing devices rely on a contacting relationship between surfaces and sealing elements to prevent fluid leakage, but in the case of moving elements, this contact produces friction that causes wearing and eventual failure of the sealing system. Friction also consumes energy and produces harmful debris. In a new breakthrough, however, researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have patented an acoustic seal that generates a pressure barrier to prevent fluid leakage from a high-pressure area. Instead of using contacting components as a seal, the patented seal employs acoustic technology to generate pressure waves that control, mitigate, or prevent fluid leakage. The result is a very low-leakage, non-contact seal that eliminates problems associated with friction. In addition, when traditional seals are needed in extremely high-temperature environments, Glenn innovators have developed new processes to enable the fabrication of single-crystal superalloys that can increase the upper limit of thermal seals to greater than 2000 °F.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Fluid Handling


Compact Vibration Damper

Applications include wind tunnel models, launch vehicles, smokestacks, helicopters, wind turbines, and skyscrapers.NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a compact tuned damper to reduce vibration occurring at a fixed frequency. Tuned dampers reduce vibration of the base structure by the dissipation of energy. The magnitude of the dissipated energy is proportional to the square of the displacement or velocity of the tuned mass, which in turn is proportional to the range of motion. The NASA damper design allows the slider mass to achieve 2× to 3× greater range of motion than that found in conventional devices. This enables 4× to 9× more effectiveness for the same size and weight; or the same effectiveness for a 4× to 9× decrease in weight. The damper is also tunable and can be adjusted in effectiveness. The damper can be made small enough for use in wind tunnel tests, or scaled up to large sizes like those used in helicopters, wind turbines, or skyscrapers.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics


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