Tech Briefs

Composite Pressure Vessel Including Crack Arresting Barrier

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center innovators have developed several new designs and methods of fabrication for composite and composite-overwrapped tank vessels that help significantly improve their structural integrity against impact, abrasion, harsh environments, and fire. Several embodiments of this technology portfolio also enable production of composite tanks capable of transporting liquefied natural gas or other cryogenic liquids. These innovations are applicable to important aerospace needs, including propulsion systems, as well as new and growing fields such as natural gas transportation.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Process for Preparing Aerogels from Polyamides

This technology can be used in construction, garments, appliances, and camping gear.Sometimes referred to as “solid smoke,” aerogels are the world’s lightest solid materials, composed of approximately 85% air by volume. Polyamide aerogels open up a whole new world of applications due to their unique properties: translucent like silica aerogels, thermoplastic, ultra-low density, superior mechanical properties, low-temperature operating range, and highly flexible (as compared to NASA Glenn’s polyimide aerogels). Polyamide aerogels are further novel because of their tunable glass transition temperatures, meaning that crystallinity — and hence strength — can be controlled via operating temperature. Addressing the key drawbacks of aerogel technology (hydroscopicity, fragility, cost), NASA Glenn’s suite of organic aerogels is cost-competitive with both existing silica aerogels and, with scale-up, high-end foamed polymer insulation. Finally, Glenn’s materials are truly multi-functional — they can be structural members while providing superior thermal properties and extremely low dielectric (near that of air).

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Advanced Multilayer Environmental Barrier Coatings

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have created exciting new developments in thermal barrier coatings, both in the chemical compositions of the coatings and in the process by which they are applied. NASA’s researchers have developed a revolutionary bond coat system that improves the performance of silicon-carbide/silicon- carbide ceramic matrix composites (SiC/SiC CMCs). This groundbreaking system enables higher-temperature operating conditions, protects against erosion and corrosion, and reduces mechanical loading. NASA’s scientists have also designed a means of creating multilayer thermal and environmental barriers with a remarkable new deposition technique to improve the coverage and quality of the coatings.

Posted in: Briefs, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials

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Magnetic Relief Valve

A side view of the relief valve sections (left), and a view inside the relief valve (right). A magnetically retained pressure-relief valve enables quick-open on/off operation when overpressure is reached.Inventors at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have developed a magnetically retained, fast-response pressure relief valve that is designed to fully open at precise cracking pressures, and that operates in a fully open/fully closed manner. The use of a magnetically controlled relief valve, as opposed to a spring-based relief valve, enables quick-open on/off relief operation when overpressure is reached. This is due to the rapid decay of the magnetic field as the fluid medium pushes the valve poppet to an open position. Spring-based relief valves require increasing pressure and force to continually compress the spring and open the relief valve. This requirement greatly complicates the design of a system relief mechanism. A magnetic relief valve reduces these design complexities by eliminating the spring.

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

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Work Piece Cleaning Apparatus and Method with Pulsating Mixture of Liquid and Gas

NASA Goddard’s scientists have developed a novel, volatile organic compound (VOC)-free system for cleaning tubing and piping that significantly reduces cost and carbon consumption. The innovative technology enables the use of deionized water in place of costlier isopropyl alcohol (IPA), and does not create any waste for which costly disposal is usually required. It uses nitrogen bubbles in water, which act as a scrubbing agent to clean equipment. The cleaning system quickly and precisely removes all foreign matter from tubing and piping.

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

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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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