Tech Briefs

Mechanical Components from Highly Recoverable, Low Apparent Modulus Materials

Shock-resistant material eliminates corrosion and polishes to a smooth surface finish.NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed a new method for producing a shock- and corrosion-proof, superelastic, intermetallic material, NiTiNOL 60 (60NiTi), for use in ball bearings and other mechanical components. These superelastic materials can withstand tremendous loads and stresses without permanent deformation or denting. At the same time, the nickel-titanium alloy is immune to corrosion and rust, unlike mechanical components made from iron or steel. In addition, the material does not chemically degrade or break down lubricants, a common problem with existing bearing materials. This material is best suited for oil-lubricated rolling and sliding contact applications requiring superior and intrinsic corrosion resistance, electrical conductivity, and non-magnetic properties.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Polyimide Wire Insulation Repair System

This technology provides permanent, flexible, and less intrusive wire repairs.NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) seeks to license its Polyimide Wire Insulation Repair System technology to industry. The Polyimide Wire Insulation Repair System is a kit consisting of thin film polyimide patches that are applied to damaged areas of wire insulation with a heating device that adheres the polyimide repair film into place. The technology has been prototyped and successfully tested by NASA and the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). Wire repairs made with this system are permanent, flexible, and much less intrusive than repairs made using current techniques and materials. The technology is well suited for all applications of polyimide and other high-performance polymer- jacketed wire constructions.

Posted in: Briefs, Composites, Materials

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Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection

This technology can be used by wildland firefighters and first responders.CHIEFS (Convective Heating Im provement for Emergency Fire Shelters) is being developed by NASA’s Langley Research Center to potentially improve the performance of emergency fire shelters for wildland firefighters. A fire shelter is a last-resort safety measure that may protect firefighters entrapped by wildfire that has compromised their escape route. The current shelter design, resembling a small foldable tent, is primarily designed to protect the user from exposure from radiant heat. It provides limited protection when exposed to direct flame contact and convective heat. The Washington Office Fire and Aviation Management (WO-FAM) initiated a product review for the fire shelters to be completed by 2018. NASA is working closely with the USDA Forest Service to understand the emergency fire shelter requirements and testing procedures.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Airfoil-Shaped Fluid Flow Tool for Use in Making Differential Measurements

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a suite of adaptable flow measurement devices that can be easily installed without compromising the structural integrity of existing conduits. With their simple installation procedures, the devices can be removed or exchanged without difficulty, allowing for temporary or extended use. The design is in-situ and self-contained, taking measurements from within the conduit, thereby offering more accuracy and allowing for opportunities to modify system operating parameters. Some of the designs can be used to mix the flow or inject a second fluid into the stream.

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

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Piezo-Actuated, Fast-Acting Control Valve

The ability of this valve to throttle makes it suitable for regulators and cold gas thrusters.High-power electric propulsion systems have the potential to revolutionize space propulsion due to their extremely high performance. This can result in significant propellant savings on space vehicles, allowing the overall mass to shrink for launch on a less expensive vehicle, or to allow the space vehicle to carry more payload at the same weight. Many electrical propulsion systems operate in pulse mode, pulsing hundreds or thousands of times per second. Creating reliable valves that can operate in pulse mode for extremely long periods and at low power is critical in these applications. Current solenoid valves have difficulty achieving the life requirements. In addition, a valve with the ability to throttle has the potential to simplify the entire propulsion system by eliminating the need for pressure regulators or latching valves.

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

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Interface Between STAR-CCM+ and 42 for Enhanced Fuel Slosh Analysis

Fuel slosh is excited during spacecraft maneuvers. The forces and torques exerted on the spacecraft by the slosh must be controlled by the attitude control system to maintain correct pointing and spacecraft orbit. In some rare cases, the attitude control system may excite the slosh and cause a loss of control of the spacecraft, or the expected spacecraft motion from a certain control command will be different enough from the control command to adversely affect the mission. By linking the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and the flight simulation software, the fuel slosh can be modeled at high fidelity by the CFD software, while receiving and passing information to and from the flight simulation software, thus increasing the fidelity of both models. In the past, fuel slosh has either been modeled with an equivalent mechanical model, such as a pendulum, or with a standalone CFD simulation.

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

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Mechanisms for Achieving Non-Sinusoidal Waveforms on Stirling Engines

The current state-of-the-art Stirling engines use sinusoidal piston and displacer motion to drive the thermodynamic cycle and produce power. Research performed at NASA Glenn has shown that non-sinusoidal waveforms have the potential to increase Stirling engine power density, and could possibly be used to tailor engine performance to the needs of a specific application. However, the state-of-the-art Stirling engine design uses gas springs or planar springs that are very nearly linear, resulting in a system that resonates at a single frequency. This means that imposing non-sinusoidal waveforms, consisting of multiple frequencies, requires large forces from the drive mechanism (either the alternator or the crank shaft). These large forces increase losses, and increase the size and requirements of the control system. This innovation aims to reduce the external forcing requirements by introducing internal mechanical components that provide the forces necessary to achieve the desired waveforms.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Motion Control

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