Tech Briefs

Safety Drain System for Fluid Reservoir

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a system that reduces the entrapment risks associated with a pool or spa’s recirculation drain. The technology prevents hazards caused by suction forces on the body, hair, clothing, or other articles. Employing a novel configuration of drainage openings along with parallel paths for water flow, the system redistributes force over a much larger area, minimizing suction force at any localized area. With more efficient drainage and recirculation, the device improves performance, increases safety, and decreases operating costs. The technology can also provide thorough chemical mixing, which improves processes in systems and allows continued operation in the event of localized debris clogging a portion of the recirculation area. All of these benefits come without a protrusive drain cover, leaving the area safe and aesthetically pleasing.

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

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Locking Mechanism for a Flexible Composite Hinge

This compact, self-deploying and locking boom has application in deployable booms, commercial satellites, and robotic vehicles that require high-data-rate communications.Composites have excellent strength characteristics, are lightweight, and are increasingly being used in space applications. However, they are highly inflexible and require hinged joints when used as deployable structures. This is a challenge for CubeSats/SmallSats, as the hinges and actuation mechanisms get very small and require multiple custom precision parts. A method of impregnating carbon fibers with a silicone matrix has been developed, which makes the composite flexible. This also makes it self-deploying, as the strain energy in the fibers will cause it to straighten. Unfortunately, a purely flexible beam does not have the required rigidity to maintain dimensions accuracy, as it can sag.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics

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Temperature-Compensating PMT Housing

Shrinking or contracting light guides is a problem when photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) are glued to the guides. If there is no way to allow movement of the PMTs, when the temperature goes down, the light guide contracts and breaks the glue joint. The PMTs cannot be left loose to rattle around inside the detector. They must be held precisely, yet gently, and allowed to move.

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

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Lunar Thin Section Particle Identification and Analysis Algorithm

Particle shape is a very important property in many fields of research, and with many practical, diverse, and commercially important applications including pharmaceuticals, civil engineering, metallurgy, health, and food processing. Many of the methods used to evaluate the shapes of solid particles employ a plane section through the particles. This mode may be termed Plane of Section. Plane of Section abstracts three-dimensional (3D) objects to two dimensions (2D).

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Libibvpp

Libibvpp provides a C++ wrapper API to the libibverbs library. Libibverbs is the OpenIB library that provides the Verbs API for programming Infiniband hardware. It is written in C and provides a C API. Because the API is in C, it is up to the library user to do explicit resource management for the objects created through the API.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Analytical Methodology to Predict the Radiometric Emissivity of a Parabolic Mesh Reflector

The demands for high-sensitivity and high-resolution radiometry have recently led the science community to examine the use of large deployable mesh reflectors, which have heretofore only been used in telecommunications applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Detection and Characterization of Recurring Slope Lineae

Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) are low-albedo features that appear and disappear seasonally on Martian slopes. They provide distinct surface markers that are thought to result from the activity of subsurface water. Reliable characterizations of RSL activity are needed to test this hypothesis. RSL are of high scientific interest, and could inform future mission planning priorities beyond sample return.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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