Tech Exchange

Shape-Memory Alloys Replace Traditional Electromagnet Actuators

Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs) are metals that “remember” their original shapes. SMA technology can provide the same mechanical movement and required forces of an electromagnetic actuator, but in a more compact form, while removing the need for motors, gearing, or springs. This SMA technology has shown a reduction in weight of up to 50%, a reduction in the space required of up 70%, and a cost reduction of up to 30% compared to traditional electromagnetic actuators. The technology can deliver mechanical movement as well as electrical connectivity, it is intrinsically safe, can be made into a flat but flexible actuator, and can operate around curvatures. Examples of applications are compact and low-weight linear electromechanical actuators; active Bowden cable devices; and temperature-dependent shape-changing actuation, displacement, or reversible surface modification. The technology could be used by the white goods, automation, medical devices, transportation, consumer goods, and leisure goods industries. Get the complete report on this technology at: www.techbriefs.com/tow/200906b.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Mechanical Mounting/Connection/Release System

The internal mechanism of the connector part of this system works to maintain positioning repeatability and rigidity, and compensates for wear over time, while both the connector and receiver are tapered in two planes to assure repeatable positioning. Together, the two form a rigid connection that can be unlocked and removed in a single plane, with no access to the side faces required for release. The principles of engaging, securing, and releasing the connector of this mount from the receiver remain the same at any scale — from applications in heavy equipment attachments, to medical devices and prostheses, to the scale of nano-machines. Applications include situations where one piece of equipment must be attached rigidly to another in a single direction; for example, attaching down-hole tools for drilling or laparoscopic operating tools where attachment and release can take place in one plane only, with no access to releases on the side. Areas of application include securing shipping containers and in microgravity where applications of side force cause unwanted rotational reaction. Get the complete report on this technology at: www.techbriefs.com/tow/200906a.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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High-Temperature Brine Viscosifier

A company seeks to increase the viscosity of brine solutions containing both mono and multivalent salts. Targeted brines may contain up to 80% weight of salt. Viscosity must stay the same up to 150°C. The thickened brine should have a yield value of the order of 1Pa (or higher) and a shear thinning behavior. The overall rheology profile should be comparable to xanthan gum solution in fresh water. The aim of the viscosity increase is to suspend solid particles. Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200905d.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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3D and/or Flock Printing Technology

A company seeks a printing capability and/or technology that creates a physical 3D texture that is tactile and soft (but not rubbery) in nature onto a flat or curved plastic surface made of polyethylene, polypropylene, or polyester material. This 3D printing enhances the product experience for the consumer by providing a more tactile surface that can increase grip, provide a pleasant texture/feeling, and/or present a less plain/sterile surface. Materials should be FDA food-safe, as well as safe when in contact with skin. Respond to this TechNeed at: www.techbriefs.com/tn/200905c.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Modular Electronic Air Sterilization Technology for Airborne Bacteria, Molds, and Viruses

This technology sterilizes air, eliminating odors, preventing infections, and extending the shelf life of food. The scalable system results in 100% removal of microorganisms with one passthrough of air. The technology has optimized UV exposure with a specialized lamp construction and array formation. The system can be modularized according to the required volume flows, and can react to changes via its proprietary microchip technology. It can be used in conjunction with HEPA filters to remove all unwanted bodies within an air stream. The underlying technology deals with the variation in atmospheric conditions. The system is made up of a series of highly developed tubular modules that include a unique internal intelligent microchip that understands changes in the humidity and temperature of the atmosphere and adapts the optimized UV exposure and flow in the unit (or series of units) to apply the minimum power required to achieve full sterilization. Get the complete report on this technology at: www.techbriefs.com/tow/200905b.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Single-Motion Extension Mechanism for Poles

Originally developed and marketed as an extension pole for painting, light bulb changing, and similar operations, the single-motion extension principle in this technology is adaptable to any rod or pole that must be extended and retracted to a compact length. It applies to extendable antennae; tent poles; emergency equipment such as stretchers, cots, or IV poles; tools; robotic arms; or surgical instruments that must extend and retract once in the body. The internal mechanism uses a metal tape similar to that in a retractable tape measure that pushes on the extending tube. The mechanism may be hand-operated or motorized, but either way, a single motion extends the pole. The internal, contained mechanism of the extension pole provides a singlemotion extension to about three times the collapsed length of the assembly. The assembly can be fabricated in a variety of materials in a variety of tensile and compression strengths in multiple segments. The assembly can scale up to greater lengths or be miniaturized to suit the application. Get the complete report on this technology at: www.techbriefs.com/tow/200905a.html Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

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Gaseous Helium (GHe) Conservation and Recovery

John C. Stennis Space Center provides rocket engine propulsion testing for the NASA space programs. Since the development of the Space Shuttle, every Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) has gone through acceptance testing before going to Kennedy Space Center for integration into the Space Shuttle. The SSME is a large cryogenic rocket engine that used Liquid Oxygen (LO2) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) as propellants. Due to the extremely cold cryogenic conditions of this environment, an inert gas, helium, is used as a purge for the engine since it can be used without freezing in the cryogenic environment. As NASA moves to the development of the new ARES launch system, the main engines as well as the upper stage engine will use cryogenic propellants, and will require gaseous helium during the development testing of each of these engines. The main engine for the ARES will be similar in size to the SSME. Technology Needs Due to the size of the SSME and the test facilities required to test the engine, extremely large quantities of helium are used during testing each year. This requirement makes Stennis one of the world’s largest users of gaseous helium, which is a non-renewable natural resource. Cost of helium is increasing as the supply diminishes. The cost and shortage of helium are beginning to impact testing of the rocket engines for the space propulsion systems. Innovative solutions are needed for efficient, cost-effective, in-situ methods to recapture helium used during the engine purging and testing processes, to re-clean the captured helium, to re-pressurize it, and then to reintroduce it for reuse. Research into technologies in these areas, demonstration of the technology capability, and conceptual design for the technology installation at Stennis are desired to assist in the helium reuse. Technology Challenges Helium used in rocket engine purge must meet very specific cleanliness standards. One of the challenges will be to develop an in-situ, on-site helium re-utilization system capable of recycling the helium to cleanliness standards requirements. The technologies developed to recapture and clean the helium must be cost-effective and able to perform the recycling process in an in-situ rocket engine test area environment. Such technologies will be required to comply with all safety and quality standards required in this environment. More Information For additional information, contact John Lansaw at Stennis Space Center, 228-688-1962, or visit nasa@techbriefs.com.

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