Tech Exchange

Multiple-Input DC Converter Distributes Power from Battery

The Direct Electric Power Converter (D-EPC), a semiconductor switching circuit, controls power distribution among multiple DC power sources without using a DC-DC converter. During every pulse-width-modulation (PWM) cycle, the DEPC alternately activates one of the multiple inverter circuits, which are connected to the power sources. The converter has been proven experimentally to conduct charging operations and distribute power between two DC power sources having different voltages.

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Piezo Technology Offers Precise Actuation, Generates Less Heat

“VIVA” piezo technology enables a valve to be direct-operated. The piezo element is protected from the fluid stream to eliminate potential for clogging or contamination failure. The valve is directly shifted by the VIVA arm, and requires only a standard 40-micron air filter upstream. No minimum air pressure is needed for operation.

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Printing Technology for PVA Film

A company seeks technology options for printing on a moving Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) film web before or during the production of liquitabs and other unit dose products. The technology must be able to print on PVA film either on-line (preferred), at line, or offline. The film production method, which will require a specific picture, should occur without damaging the individual pouches. Three colors are needed: black, red, and white. Printing must be dry in 10 seconds or less, assuming 2-micron thickness. The finished product should also maintain the current dilution profile in water.

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Technologies to Stabilize and Deliver RNA Strands

An organization is looking for technologies that can stabilize and deliver fragile RNA strands to plants and animals outside of a laboratory-controlled environment. The RNA strands may include dsRNA (double-stranded RNA) and shRNA (short hairpin RNA). A proposed solution must provide a method to make stable dsRNA or shRNA, and/or deliver the RNA to plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, or viruses at the organism level. The technology must maintain stability in a liquid, sprayable formulation, and have a shelf life of at least one or two years.

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Conductive Polymers Integrate Antennas Into an Electronic Device Housing

Micron-sized conductive fibers within a thermoplastic matrix enable polymeric antennas that can be molded in various shapes and sizes. The polymer antenna technology can even become an integral part of a device housing, thus reducing part count, concealing itself, and simplifying the manufacturing process. With adhesion, the lead is attached to the antenna’s central receptor patch.

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Long-Wave IR Sensors Enable Remote Temperature Measurement

A 2000-pixel long-wave infrared sensor detects and monitors hot spots, wear points, and friction on operating machinery and other equipment. Using software, the device also displays the condition of heat-generating tools, including motors and bearings; collects temperature readings from running machines, lab equipment, and experiments; monitors objects being oven-cured or heat-sealed; and signals an alert when specific temperature conditions are met. The device also features an IP65/NEMA4 enclosure.

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Controlled Delivery of Liquid

A customer seeks a range of technologies that will allow controlled delivery of liquid products over a wide viscosity range. Proposed technologies must work for liquids with low viscosity (such as floor cleaners) and/or very high viscosity (such as thick bleaches and body washes). Technologies will be evaluated based on added functionality to the product and optimization of delivery mechanism. Potential solutions include electro-sprays, ionizers, diffusers, piezotechnology, microfluidics, dosing caps, monodose/soluble pouches, orientable/ adjustable nozzles, and automatic spray heads. Technologies such as controlled dosing or automated dispensing are of high interest.

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Spray Coating Systems

Current spray designs coat the exposed surface of the top layer of fibers, while fibers in the interior do not get treated. Fibers also move around when transported during processing, leading to exposure of untreated surfaces. An organization seeks novel technologies that can apply a spray coating to the entire surface area of a collection of fibers. New spray systems and designs must treat the underlying surface area of fibers. Spray systems that can be installed in a confined space are not required, but of additional interest. The invention must be compatible with water-based solutions.

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Improved Recycling Processes

Currently, cellulose-based fibers can only be recycled 6-8 times, after which the fiber length and properties are too significantly impacted for any further reuse. Technologies are therefore required to enhance the fibers’ recycling potential. The technologies must not add virgin fibers at each recycling stage. Potential solutions include synthetic fibers to aid in recovering structural integrity lost in repulping; coatings to provide strengthening end results; and chemical technologies that minimize damage to the fibers during repulping. The primary function of packaging must be maintained.

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Microencapsulation of Probiotic Bacteria

The incorporation of probiotic bacteria into liquid food or food with high water activity is still a challenge for the functional food industry. The metabolic activity of the lyophilized bacteria, however, is extremely sensitive to the presence of water and oxygen, and a solution must protect microencapsulated bacteria from contact. Particles must be of a size below 100 micrometers. Between the process of encapsulation and the time of preservation of probiotic bacteria in the liquid matrix, loss of viability must not exceed an order of magnitude.

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