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Fully Implicit Ablation and Thermal Analysis Program, Version 3 (FIAT v3)

The program is very stable and robust for application to both robotic and crewed vehicles entering a planetary atmosphere from space. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California FIAT v3 simulates one-dimensional thermal energy transport through a multilayer stack of thermal protection materials, bonding materials, metallic or composite structures, air gaps, and/or insulations. The outer surface encounters aerothermal heating from hypersonic flow, and the inner surface may have various boundary conditions such as assigned temperature history, insulated, or convective cooling. The heated outer surface can ablate, and materials can decompose (pyrolyze) in-depth.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers

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CFD Utility Software Library

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Originating as the Aerodynamics Division Software Library of the 1980s and -90s, this software is a collection of more than 100 software applications, many of them for manipulating the grids and flow solutions associated with computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Underlying these applications are about 30 libraries containing more than 1,200 subroutines, functions, or modules, mostly written in Fortran [90] with a small collection of C translations. Wherever possible, the software is generalized with reuse and portability in mind. These tools often operate on files in PLOT3D and/or Tecplot format, which represent de facto standards at many sites within academia, NASA, and industry. Utilities for treating unstructured data are also included along with a collection of programming tools for manipulating character data. Library names such as geomlib, interplib, optlib, and searchlib suggest the scope of numerics covered, while I/O packages such as tecplot_io, triangulation_io, and xyzq_io can ease development of new applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers

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Improved Detection of Kidney Stones Using S-mode Ultrasound

Steps were developed to improve kidney stone detection relative to surrounding tissue. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Ultrasound has been a useful tool in the detection of kidney stones. It is a low-cost solution that does not require ionizing radiation that would be harmful to vulnerable populations such as children and recurrent stone formers. However, it suffers from a broad range of sensitivity (78 to 96%) and specificity (31 to 100%) in the detection of stones.

Posted in: Briefs

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Vector Network Analyzer Calibration for Quasi-Optical Dual Ports

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland It is desirable to measure the electromagnetic properties of devices and materials in the millimeter part of the spectrum. For guided wave-based devices and materials (waveguides, coaxial devices), a vector network analyzer (VNA) is an excellent tool for this purpose since it provides full reflection and transmission characterization at high precision.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Measurement of the Mechanical Properties of Thin Film Polymers at Cryogenic Temperatures

A new apparatus uses pressurized liquid nitrogen to measure deformation. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida The measurement of structural properties of materials at cryogenic temperatures is a daunting task. The measurement of thin films at low temperatures is even harder. Current practices of immersing the material in a cryogenic fluid and then removing and testing it does not work due to the rapid warming of the low-mass thin film. Similarly, exposing it to a cold vapor environment, unless well controlled procedurally, does not yield data at a known temperature (the temperature of the material is unknown). Thus, gathering basic material properties of thin film materials at low temperature requires a new approach.

Posted in: Briefs

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Estimation of Algae Growth Stage, Growth Rate, and Lipid Content

Applications include diesel fuel production, renewable energy, biofuels, and pharmaceuticals. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This invention provides a method using light of different wavelengths to estimate freshwater and marine algae growth stage and algae growth rates as well as lipid content in standard media. Light absorption by the algae is measured for a specified light intensity in each of two or more narrow wavelength ranges, correcting for absorption in the medium without algae. The net light absorption is compared with a reference set of absorption values for the algae at different growth stages.

Posted in: Briefs

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Isotopic Biomarkers for Rapid Assessment of Bone Mineral Balance in Biomedical Applications

Advanced isotope tracer techniques are explored. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Development of new treatments for metabolic bone disease, and evaluation of the effectiveness of existing therapies in individual patients, are severely hampered by the lack of any reliable tool for quickly measuring changes in bone mineral balance in response to treatment. A new tracerless calcium isotope biomarker of bone mineral balance fills this need. When properly applied, the calcium isotope biomarker reveals changes in bone mineral balance with unprecedented speed and detail, and has the potential to dramatically improve the treatment for diseases such as osteoporosis. A complementary strontium isotope biomarker provides, with equal rapidity, information on the speed of exchange of calcium between soft tissue and mineralized compartments.

Posted in: Briefs

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