February 2001

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process for Polishing Bare Aluminum to High Optical Quality
Process for Polishing Bare Aluminum to High Optical Quality

A process for making precise, high-quality curved or flat mirror surfaces on bare aluminum substrates has been devised. The process consists of (1) diamond turning to establish the...

Process for Polishing Bare Aluminum to High Optical Quality
Briefs : Motion Control
First-Order Theory of Control of Motion of a Crane and Load

A first-order mathematical model has been developed in a theoretical study of the dynamics of a load suspended by a cable from a crane that moves along a straight track. The model is the basis of a proposed method of computer control of the velocity as well as the position of the crane...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
A Personal-Computer-Based Physiological Training System

The Autogenic Clinical/Lab System (ACLS) is a personal-computer-based instrumentation system for physiological training. This system can be used to implement a program of multiparameter physiological conditioning known as autogenic-feedback training exercise (AFTE).

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Reconfigurable Arrays of Transistors for Evolvable Hardware

Very-large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits containing electronically reconfigurable arrays of transistors have been proposed as means to implement a forthcoming generation of a special class of digital/analog electronic circuits. The class in question is a subclass of advanced...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Active Tactile Display Device for Reading by a Blind Person

A proposed active tactile display device would present textual and graphical information to a blind person. The concept of this device is a byproduct of recent research on the use of electroactive polymers to generate forces and displacements in novel robotic actuators.

Briefs : Information Technology
Program Automates Management of IBM VM Computer Systems

The VM Automated System computer program was developed to satisfy a need for efficient management of operations in a large client/server computer network that includes multiple mainframe computers and multiple local-area subnetworks. Functions performed by the program include the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
System for Monitoring the Environment of a Spacecraft Launch

A system that includes sensors and computers that communicate via an intranet enables both real-time monitoring and subsequent analysis of acoustic, overpressure, and thermal aspects of a spacecraft-launch environment and the structural response (vibration and strain) to that...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Measurement of Stresses and Strains in Muscles and Tendons

Miniature fiber-optic-coupled sensors based on optically excited, self-resonant microbeams are being developed for measuring stresses and strains within muscle fascicles and tendons. These sensors could be used in medical and biological research on humans and other animals, or to obtain...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Optical Measurement of Temperatures in Muscles and Tendons

Miniature fiber-optic-coupled sensors based on optically excited, self-resonant microbeams have been proposed for measuring temperatures within muscle fascicles and tendons. The proposed sensors could be used in medical and biological research on humans and other animals. The proposed...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Small Low-Temperature Thermometer With Nanokelvin Resolution

An improved high-resolution thermometer (HRT) for use in scientific experiments at temperatures

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Heterodyne Interferometer With Phase-Modulated Carrier

A heterodyne optical interferometer of a type used to measure small displacements can be augmented to suppress a phenomenon, called "self-interference," that tends to limit the achievable resolution and working distance and can even render the interferometer inoperable. The technique for...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Rechargeable Batteries Based on Intercalation in Graphite

Storage batteries based on intercalation of lithium and bromine in graphite have been proposed. Like other storage batteries, these could be recharged electrically. Optionally, these batteries could also be recharged thermally at relatively low temperatures — by use of solar or waste...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Signal Processor for Doppler Measurements in Icing Research

An advanced signal processor has been developed to enable high-resolution measurement of the frequency and phase shifts of noisy laser Doppler velocimeter (LDV) and phase Doppler particle analyzer (PDPA) signals. The purpose of the measurements is to exploit the phase Doppler principle...

Briefs : Software
Model Optimizes Drying of Wet Sheets

Paper, tea, tobacco, and other food and industrial goods use drying tunnels to remove moisture from wet product sheets during manufacture. The tunnels operate using a fan to supply drying air to the product sheet through an orifice plate. Unfortunately, under some supply conditions, little or no drying...

Briefs : Materials
High-Performance POSS-Modified Polymeric Composites

Epoxies and/or cyanate esters that incorporate polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) compounds are undergoing development at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). These formulations are expected to be useful as high-performance matrix resins for advanced, lightweight fiber/matrix...

Briefs : Materials
Model Simulates Semi-Solid Material Processing

David Spencer (MIT) developed semi-solid material processing through an accidental observation he made while dealing with the processing of metals in their mushy state. The semi-solid material process basically consists of two stages: pre-processing and processing. During pre-processing, the...

Briefs : Materials
Modular Cryogenic Insulation

"Modular cryogenic insulation" denotes a chaff for installation in the partially evacuated annular spaces between the inner and outer walls of tanks used to store and transport liquid nitrogen and other cryogenic liquids. The insulating chaff was developed to replace low-density powders (e.g., perlite, silica...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Passive Venting for Alleviating Helicopter Tail-Boom Loads

The tail boom of a single-rotor helicopter is subjected to a complex flow field that includes the wakes of the main and tail rotors, the freestream, and the wake from the forward fuselage. Hovering and sideward flight present the operational regimes that are most critical with respect to...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Computer Program Predicts Rocket Noise

A computer program predicts the noise and ignition over pressure in the vicinity of a rocket during launch. The program has been developed to complement the vibroacoustic-prediction effort for rockets now in use and to provide the capability for prediction of vibroacoustic loads associated with...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
External Adhesive Pressure-Wall Patch

A mechanical device has been developed for applying an adhesive patch, from the outside, to the wall of a spacecraft module that has lost pressure because of penetration by a meteoroid or a piece of orbital debris. This device will make it possible to seal and re-pressurize the affected module during space...

Briefs : Information Technology
Java Implementation of Information-Sharing Protocol

Johnson Space Center's (JSC's) growing operations community requires new ways to distribute and process mission information. The Mission Control Center uses flight-control application programs based on an information-sharing protocol (ISP) to process and distribute real-time mission telemetry,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Electronic Bulletin Board Publishes Schedules in Real Time

Real Time Schedule Publisher (RTSP) is a computer program that generates a report of the current schedules of as many as about 25 users within an organization. The report is refreshed every 5 minutes and displayed in a common area on a flat-panel computer monitor that serves as an...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Apparatus Would Extract Water From the Martian Atmosphere

A report proposes an apparatus that would extract water from the atmosphere of Mars and would consume little energy in doing so. The apparatus would include a set of copper plates surrounded by a thermal shield with slots through which atmospheric gas could circulate. At night, the slots...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Review of Research on Supercritical vs. Subcritical Fluids

A paper reviews theoretical and experimental research on the behaviors of supercritical fluids and, for comparison, subcritical fluids. Experiments with drops, isolated or in groups, streams, shear layers, mixing layers, jets, and sprays are tabulated and discussed as a precursor...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Regenerative Water-Recycling System

A wastewater-recycling system contains biological and physicochemical water-treatment units. The system is suitable for use in environments in which clean water supplies are limited. Waste streams containing urine and washwater are purified into potable water with a recovery rate of 99 percent....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Study of Fusion-Driven Plasma Thruster With Magnetic Nozzle

A report presents a computational study of a proposed plasma thruster for a spacecraft. The behavior of the plasma was computationally simulated by use of a mathematical model of magnetohydrodynamic flow implemented in the previously developed MACH2 computer program. To increase...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Liquid/Vapor-Hydrazine Thruster Would Produce Small Impulses

A report proposes a liquid/vapor-hydrazine thruster for use in controlling the attitude of a small spacecraft. From the upstream to the downstream end, the thruster would include a tank containing liquid hydrazine, a fast liquid valve, a heated prevaporizing plenum, a fast gas...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Thruster Based on Sublimation of Solid Hydrazine

A report proposes a small spacecraft attitude-control thruster in which the propellant material would be hydrazine that would be stored frozen until sublimed at the instant of use. From the upstream to the downstream end, the main components of the thruster would include a plug of solid...

Briefs : Motion Control
Temporary Fullerene Films in Microelectromechanical Devices

In a proposed technique for fabrication of microelectromechanical devices, thin films of fullerenes would be used as temporary packaging to protect and position delicate components. The initial application of this technique would likely occur in the fabrication of devices in which...

Briefs : Materials
Model Simulates Semi-Solid Material Processing

David Spencer (MIT) developed semi-solid material processing through an accidental observation he made while dealing with the processing of metals in their mushy state. The semi-solid material process basically consists of two stages: pre-processing and processing. During pre-processing, the...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Inertial/GPS Pointing and Positioning System

A data system generates information on the position and orientation of a pointing instrument (e.g., a telescope or a laser) that could be mounted on a moving platform (e.g., an aircraft) and generate platform-steering commands for pointing the instrument at a known target (e.g., a target on the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Time-Delay Interferometry in an Unequal-Arm Interferometer

A method of processing phase measurements in a large, unequal-arm laser Michelson interferometer makes it possible to measure phase effects much smaller than the laser phase noise. This method is related to the method reported in "Cancellation of Laser Noise in an Unequal-Arm...

Briefs : Motion Control
Conformably Stowable Canard

An improved secondary wing system of the canard type has been invented to improve performance and increase efficiency of airplanes capable of flight at supersonic and high subsonic speeds. Canards, including small forward-mounted secondary wings, are used to increase the total wing surface areas of airplanes in order...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Improved Dynamic Holographic Optical-Interconnection System

An improved visual display system for a helmet produces two- and three-dimensional images by use of the limited domain of spatial light modulation (SLM) values. One especially notable improvement incorporated into the design of this system is a simplification in the design of dynamic...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
OEOs With Carrier Suppression for Reduction of Phase Noise

Optoelectronic oscillators (OEOs) that incorporate carrier-suppression subsystems for reduction of close-to-carrier phase noise are undergoing development. The carrier-suppression phase-noise-reduction technique has previously been applied to microwave oscillators. The close-to-carrier...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Nanometer-Level Control Scheme for Nulling Interferometry

A control scheme for nulling interferometry has been devised to make it possible to stabilize interferometric optical-path-length differences to within approximately a nanometer. This degree of stabilization is an order of magnitude finer than that achieved previously in typical optical...