Tech Exchange

Technologies for Large-Scale Numerical Simulation

NASA Ames Research Center is home to the world’s seventh most powerful supercomputer, Pleiades. Named after the star cluster, it represents NASA’s state-of-the-art technology for meeting the agency’s supercomputing requirements, enabling NASA scientist s and engineers to conduct modeling and simulation for NASA missions. As one of the most powerful general-purpose supercomputers ever built, Pleiades has the computing power equivalent to that of 41,000 MacBook Pros.

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Structural Detection of Welded Steel Regions

A non-destructive test mechanism is needed to detect fracture toughness, hardness, and microstructure properties of 1/8" steel weld zones. The device must measure the characteristics of flash upset welding of steel. In addition, the standalone technology should not function in a continuous, in-line manufacturing process. The detection system must also identify properties of a welded region, compare these results to both good and bad profiles, and alarm the operator of a specific failure type.

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Pathogen Inactivation Technologies

Although there are highly sensitive methods for pathogen detection in donor blood, the risk of infection via transfusion remains. A customer seeks methods to inactivate all known and unknown blood-borne pathogens in blood products, especially where those technologies can be used for whole blood or red blood cells. A pathogen agent should be able to inactivate multiple infection-agent forms, and a proposed solution must work on all three blood components: red blood cells, plasma, and platelets.

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Piezo-Driven Pressure Controller Saves Heat

Using a piezo-actuated valve and an integral, closed-loop pressure control circuit, a modular controller maintains the pressure of non-corrosive to mildly corrosive gases. The Active Pressure Controller (APC) consumes minimal power (

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Magnetic Device Separates Hydrogen from Oxygen

High temperatures have been used to dissociate water, but in many cases, the oxygen and hydrogen recombine when temperatures drop. A new device magnetically separates hydrogen from oxygen at elevated temperatures. Steam enters a reaction chamber, heats to over 150 °C in a focused solar beam, and dissociates into hydrogen and oxygen. The ionic gases then pass through a magnetic field, where they experience opposing forces and can be drawn off individually. Once the ions are diverged, they are separated by a physical barrier. The temperature then rapidly decreases, causing the separated ions to recombine into H2 and O2.

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A More Efficient Turbo Propulsion System

Using higher exhaust exit temperatures, a company needs to improve the efficiency of a turbo propulsion system. Methods should reduce component weight primarily in the core compressor component (or secondarily anywhere in the flow path) through new compressor geometries or aerodynamic improvements. Lower temperatures of components adjacent to the flow path of the exhaust must be maintained. Higher temperatures to the exhaust’s flow path are thus restricted, leading to higher-temperature exhaust and a better maintenance of associated components’ mean-time-between-failures (MTBF).

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Stainless Steel Surface Treatment

A treatment for stainless steel must impart high-release properties on par with non-stick coatings. The method should modify the surface of the stainless steel, but not reduce any of its existing properties, such as abrasion resistance, chemical resistance, or durability. The surface modification must resist sodium hydroxide and bleach (up to 180 °F), alkaline, and acidic staining. The non-stick properties should also offer super-hydrophobic features at a contact angle of 90 degrees or better.

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