May 2003

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wireless Temperature-Monitoring System

A relatively inexpensive instrumentation system that includes units that are connected to thermocouples and that are parts of a radio-communication network has been developed to enable monitoring of temperatures at multiple locations. Because there is no need to string wires or cables for communication, the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Analog Binaural Circuits for Detecting and Locating Leaks

Very-large-scale integrated (VLSI) analog binaural signal-processing circuits have been proposed for use in detecting and locating leaks that emit noise in the ultrasonic frequency range. These circuits would be designed to function even in the presence of intense lower-frequency...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cascade Back-Propagation Learning in Neural Networks

The cascade back-propagation (CBP) algorithm is the basis of a conceptual design for accelerating learning in artificial neural networks. The neural networks would be implemented as analog very-large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits, and circuits to implement the CBP algorithm would be...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Using PXI-Based Arbitrary Waveform Generators for Non-Standard Raster/Stroke (Vector) Video

A number of display systems primarily used in specialized areas such as aviation, space (NASA), and military/defense employ non-standard video signal technologies such as raster/stroke analog video. Displays in cockpits of planes, pilot helmets, and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Bio-Inspired Engineering of Exploration Systems

The multidisciplinary concept of "bioinspired engineering of exploration systems" (BEES) is described, which is a guiding principle of the continuing effort to develop biomorphic explorers as reported in a number of articles in the...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electrophoretic Deposition for Fabricating Microbatteries

An improved method of fabrication of cathodes of microbatteries is based on electrophoretic deposition. Heretofore, sputtering (for deposition) and the use of photoresist and liftoff (for patterning) have been the primary methods of fabricating components of microbatteries. The volume of...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Microscope Cells Containing Multiple Micromachined Wells

An improved design for multiple-well microscope cells and an associated improved method of fabricating them have been devised. [As used here, "well" denotes a cavity that has a volume of about 1 or 2 µL and that is used to hold a sample for examination under a microscope....

Briefs : Information Technology
Developing Generic Software for Spacecraft Avionics

A proposed approach to the development of software for spacecraft avionics is based partly on a concept of generic software that could be tailored to satisfy requirements for specific missions. The proposed approach would stand in contrast to the conventional approach of first defining avionics...

Briefs : Information Technology
Using Fractional Clock-Period Delays in Telemetry Arraying

A set of special digital all-pass finite- impulse- response (FIR) filters produces phase shifts equivalent to delays that equal fractions of the sampling or clock period of a telemetry- data- processing system. These filters have been used to enhance the arraying of telemetry signals...

Briefs : Materials
Perovskite Superlattices as Tunable Microwave Devices

Experiments have shown that superlattices that comprise alternating epitaxial layers of dissimilar paraelectric perovskites can exhibit large changes in permittivity with the application of electric fields. The superlattices are potentially useful as electrically tunable dielectric components...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectrically Actuated Shutter for High Vacuum

A piezoelectrically actuated shutter is undergoing development for use in experiments on laser cooling of atoms. The shutter is required to be compatible with ultrahigh vacuum [pressure of 10-9 torr (≈1.3 X 10-7 Pa) or less] and to be capable of performing reliably in the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flight Tests of a Ministick Controller in an F/A-18 Airplane

In March of 1999, five pilots performed flight tests to evaluate the handling qualities of an F/A-18 research airplane equipped with a small-displacement center stick (ministick) controller that had been developed for the JAS 39 Gripen airplane (a fighter/attack/ reconnaissance...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mirrors Containing Biomimetic Shape-Control Actuators

Curved mirrors of a proposed type would comprise lightweight sheets or films containing integral, biologically inspired actuators for controlling their surface figures. These mirrors could be useful in such applications as collection of solar energy, focusing of radio beams, and (provided...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Assessment of Models of Chemically Reacting Granular Flows

A report presents an assessment of a general mathematical model of dense, chemically reacting granular flows like those in fluidized beds used to pyrolize biomass. The model incorporates submodels that have been described in several NASA Tech Briefs articles, including "Generalized...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Numerical Study of Pyrolysis of Biomass in Fluidized Beds

A report presents a numerical-simulation study of pyrolysis of biomass in fluidized-bed reactors, performed by use of the mathematical model described in "Model of Fluidized Bed Containing Reacting Solids and Gases" (NPO-30163), which appears elsewhere in this issue of NASA Tech Briefs....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Integrated Arrays of Ion-Sensitive Electrodes

The figure depicts an example of proposed compact water-quality sensors that would contain integrated arrays of ion-sensitive electrodes (ISEs). These sensors would serve as electronic "tongues": they would be placed in contact with water and used to "taste" selected dissolved...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Model of Fluidized Bed Containing Reacting Solids and Gases

A mathematical model has been developed for describing the thermofluid dynamics of a dense, chemically reacting mixture of solid particles and gases. As used here, "dense" signifies having a large volume fraction of particles, as for example in a bubbling fluidized bed. The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Using Diffusion Bonding in Making Piezoelectric Actuators

A technique for the fabrication of piezoelectric actuators that generate acceptably large forces and deflections at relatively low applied voltages involves the stacking and diffusion bonding of multiple thin piezoelectric layers coated with film electrodes. The present technique stands...

Briefs : Software
Exchanging 3D Data Between Mechanical CAD (MCAD) Systems

Manufacturing companies must bring high-quality products to market faster than ever before. This tightened timeframe significantly impacts the manufacturing supply chain — a familiar problem to most computer-aided design (CAD) users. The need for interoperability is a natural con-...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Wheel Design Verified With FEA Software

This paper examines an aluminum wheel design used with a run-flat tire called an extended mobility technology (EMT) tire, which can be safely driven without air for at least 80 km (50 miles). The setup of the finite element model of the wheel is discussed in detail, along with a parametric study of the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Membrane Mirrors With Bimorph Shape Actuators

Deformable mirrors of a proposed type would be equipped with relatively-large-stroke microscopic piezoelectric actuators that would be used to maintain their reflective surfaces in precise shapes. These mirrors would be members of the class of MEMS-DM (formicroelectromechanical system deformable...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Rollable Thin-Shell Nanolaminate Mirrors

A class of lightweight, deployable, thin-shell, curved mirrors with built-in precise-shape-control actuators is being developed for high-resolution scientific imaging. This technology incorporates a combination of advanced design concepts in actuation and membrane optics that, heretofore, have been...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Surface-Micromachined Planar Arrays of Thermopiles

Planar two-dimensional arrays of thermopiles intended for use as thermal-imaging detectors are to be fabricated by a process that includes surface micromachining. These thermopile arrays are designed to perform better than do prior two-dimensional thermopile arrays.

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