Researchers Build Solar-Powered Water Purifier

Using low-cost materials, academics from the University of Buffalo developed a solar-powered water purifier. The device could help to address global drinking water shortages, especially in developing areas and regions affected by natural disasters.

Posted in: News, Recycling Technologies

System for In-Situ Detection of Plant Exposure to Trichloroethylene (TCE)

The system can scan the surface of a leaf to quickly detect the presence or absence of TCE without damaging the plant.

In collaboration with the State University of New York and the Naval Research Laboratory, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is developing a hyperspectral estimator to detect trichloroethylene (TCE) in plants. TCE has been a widely used industrial solvent known to be toxic to humans and animals. Although its use and disposal have become more restricted in recent years, TCE is one of the more prevalent groundwater contaminants in the United States. Current methods exist to identify the locations of TCE at contaminated sites; however, these methods typically require destructive sampling techniques as well as time-consuming and expensive laboratory analysis. In contrast, the hyperspectral estimator is being designed as a nondestructive, quick, and lower-cost way to screen for TCE across large areas. It works by using spectral signatures to determine the presence/absence of TCE in the leaves of plants that may have absorbed the contaminant from surrounding groundwater.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water pollution, Chemicals, Hazardous materials, Test equipment and instrumentation

Time-Shifted PN Codes for CW LIDAR, RADAR, and SONAR

Algorithm eliminates channel interference and artifacts from lidar return signals.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a waveform processing technique to eliminate signal noise resulting from sources of interference (scatterers) that can degrade continuous wave (CW) lidar return data. The algorithm was developed to enable CW lidar measurement of atmospheric gas concentrations as part of NASA’s Active Sensing of CO2 Emissions over Nights, Days, and Seasons (ASCENDS) program, but can be used to test any chemical species, such as poison gas or other trace elements in the atmosphere. The algorithm demonstrated reduction in interference resulting from thin cloud layers and other scatterers. The improvement holds the potential for significant advancement of CW lidar systems that are less expensive, of simpler design, and can be operated at higher average power than pulsed lidar systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Mathematical models, Lidar, Radar, Lidar, Radar, Emissions measurement, Noise, Noise

Data Informatics Infrastructure for the Megacities Carbon Project

With the goal of assessing the anthropogenic carbon-emission impact of urban centers on local and global climates, the Megacities Carbon Project has been building carbon-monitoring capabilities for the past two years around the Los Angeles metropolitan area as a pilot effort. Hundreds of megabytes of data are generated daily and distributed among data centers local to the sensor networks involved. These remotely generated data are then aggregated into a centralized data infrastructure located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to provide collaboration opportunities on the data as well as generate refined data products through centralized data processing pipelines.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Data exchange, Remote sensing, Data exchange, Remote sensing, Emissions measurement, Data management, Globalization

Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for Paints

A safe and effective method for removing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks partners interested in the commercial application of the Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for treating polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paints. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is offering companies licensing or partnering opportunities in the development of this innovative remediation technology.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Metals, Hazardous materials

Airborne Elastic Backscatter and Raman Polychromator for Ash Detection

Volcanic ash is a significant hazard to aircraft engines and electronics. It has caused damage to unwary aircraft and disrupted air travel for thousands of travelers, costing millions of dollars. The small, jagged fragments of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass that constitute volcanic ash are about the size of sand and silt. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet. The upper winds transport the particles away to eventual dispersal in an ash cloud. Ash clouds typically form above 20,000 feet, but the lower limit of the initial cloud depends on both the height of the volcanic vent and the vigor with which material is ejected from it.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Particulate matter (PM), Hazardous materials

System Recycles and Purifies Large Volumes of Helium for SLS

Helium reclamation system
VACCO Industries
South El Monte, CA

Recyling and purifying high-flow helium allows uninterrupted testing of high-volume, high-pressure-drop Space Launch System (SLS) main engine purge regulators and relief valves. Large-scale helium reclamation is a process that purifies used atmospheric-pressure helium to mil-spec levels, and compresses it to high pressures for reuse in component testing. The key is cryogenic purification with a molecular sieve to remove water, volatile organic compounds, oxygen, nitrogen, and other impurities to achieve 99.995% pure helium.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Recycling Technologies, Recycling, Gases, Launch vehicles

Adhesives and Joining Methods in Land Transportation

The first in a three-part series, this White Paper discusses adhesives and joining methods in land transportation.

Topics covered include:

Common joining methods Joining considerations and reliability factors Materials use and dissimilar materials considerations Land transportation market – growth, drivers, applications Regulatory requirements
Posted in: White Papers, Green Design & Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials

2016 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2016 Create the Future Design Contest — sponsored by COMSOL, Mouser Electronics, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) — recognized innovation in product design in seven categories: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive/Transportation, Consumer Products, Electronics, Machinery/Automation/ Robotics, Med ical, and Sustainable Technologies. In this special section, you’ll meet the Grand Prize Winner, as well as the winners and Honorable Mentions in all seven categories, chosen from over 1,100 new product ideas submitted from a record 71 countries. To view all of the entries online, visit www.createthefuturecontest.com.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Automotive, Defense, Electronics, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Automation, Robotics, Design processes, Collaboration and partnering

2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Grand Prize Winner


Thomas Healy, RF Culbertson, AJ Emanuele, Morgan Culbertson, Wilson Sa, Pam Culbertson, Chad Saylor, Len Kulbacki, Eric Weber, Adam Faris, Kim Kasee, Roger Richter, Jared King, Phil Aufdencamp, and Tim Gehring

Hyliion, Pittsburgh, PA

Hyliion is bringing hybrid efficiency to the trucking industry by replacing a semi-trailer’s passive axle with the Intelligent Electric Drive Axle System. The system can decrease fuel consumption and reduce emissions by capturing wasted energy and storing it in a battery pack to help propel the trailer when needed. Currently, tractor-trailers get 6.5 miles per gallon, and on average use $48,000 of fuel annually (per tractor). The trucking industry in the U.S. spends $150B per year on fuel; 6.2% of all emissions in the U.S. comes from trucks.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Heavy trucks, Hybrid electric vehicles, Trailers

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