June 2003

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
AC Motor-Based Drive System Functions Without Gearboxes or Pulse Encoders

Standard induction motors, normally designed to run at base speeds between 850 to 3500 rpm, are not particularly well suited for low-speed operation, as their efficiency drops with the reduction in speed. They may also be unable to deliver sufficient smooth torque at low...

Briefs : Information Technology
Improved Collision-Detection Method for Robotic Manipulator

An improved method has been devised for the computational prediction of a collision between (1) a robotic manipulator and (2) another part of the robot or an external object in the vicinity of the robot. The method is intended to be used to test commanded manipulator trajectories in...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Small, Untethered, Mobile Robots for Inspecting Gas Pipes

Small, untethered mobile robots denoted gas-pipe explorers (GPEXs) have been proposed for inspecting the interiors of pipes used in the local distribution natural gas. The United States has network of gas- distribution pipes with a total length of approximately 109 m. These...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
MEMS-Based Piezoelectric/Electrostatic Inchworm Actuator

A proposed inchworm actuator, to be designed and fabricated according to the principles of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), would effect linear motion characterized by steps as small as nanometers and an overall range of travel of hundreds of microns. Potential applications for...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
The Ames Power Monitoring System

Power demand can be managed to reduce cost.

The Ames Power Monitoring System (APMS) is a centralized system of power meters, computer hardware, and special-purpose software that collects and stores electrical power data by various facilities at Ames Research Center (ARC). This system is needed because of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Adaptive Suppression of Noise in Voice Communications

A subsystem for the adaptive suppression of noise in a voice-communication system effects a high level of reduction of noise that enters the system through microphones. The subsystem includes a digital signal processor (DSP) plus circuitry that implements voice-recognition and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Microbatteries for Combinatorial Studies of Conventional Lithium-Ion Batteries

Integrated arrays of microscopic solid-state batteries have been demonstrated in a continuing effort to develop microscopic sources of power and of voltage reference circuits to be incorporated into low-power integrated circuits. Perhaps even more importantly, arrays...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Performance Solid-State W-Band Power Amplifiers

The figure shows one of four solid-state power amplifiers, each capable of generating an output power ≥240 mW over one of four overlapping frequency bands from 71 to 106 GHz. (The bands are 71 to 84, 80 to 92, 88 to 99, and 89 to 106 GHz.) The amplifiers are designed for optimum performance...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Paint-Overspray Catcher

An apparatus to catch paint overspray has been proposed. Overspray is an unavoidable parasitic component of spray that occurs because the flow of air or other gas in the spray must turn at the sprayed surface. Very small droplets are carried away in this turning flow, and some land on adjacent surfaces not meant to be...

Briefs : Information Technology
Aerodynamic Design Using Neural Networks

The design of aerodynamic components of aircraft, such as wings or engines, involves a process of obtaining the most optimal component shape that can deliver the desired level of component performance, subject to various constraints, e.g., total weight or cost, that the component must satisfy. Aerodynamic...

Briefs : Information Technology
Adaptation of Mesoscale Weather Models to Local Forecasting

Methodologies have been developed for (1) configuring mesoscale numerical weather- prediction models for execution on high- performance computer workstations to make short-range weather forecasts for the vicinity of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station...

Briefs : Information Technology
Software for Managing Inventory of Flight Hardware

The Flight Hardware Support Request System (FHSRS) is a computer program that relieves engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) of most of the non-engineering administrative burden of managing an inventory of flight hardware. The FHSRS can also be adapted to perform similar functions for...

Briefs : Information Technology
yourSky: Custom Sky-Image Mosaics via the Internet

yourSky is a computer program that supplies custom astronomical image mosaics of sky regions specified by requesters using client computers connected to the Internet. [yourSky is an upgraded version of the software reported in "Software for Generating Mosaics of Astronomical Images" (NPO-21121),...

Briefs : Information Technology
Software Estimates Costs of Testing Rocket Engines

Simulation-Based Cost Model (SiCM), a discrete event simulation developed in Extend™, simulates pertinent aspects of the testing of rocket propulsion test articles for the purpose of estimating the costs of such testing during time intervals specified by its users. A user enters input data for...

Briefs : Information Technology
Software Supports Distributed Operations via the Internet

Multi-mission Encrypted Communication System (MECS) is a computer program that enables authorized, geographically dispersed users to gain secure access to a common set of data files via the Internet. MECS is compatible with legacy application programs and a variety of operating systems....

Briefs : Information Technology
Software Assists in Extensive Environmental Auditing

The Base Environmental Management System (BEMS) is a Web-based application program for managing and tracking audits by the Environmental Office of Stennis Space Center in conformity with standard 14001 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14001). (This standard specifies...

Briefs : Information Technology
Software for Collaborative Engineering of Launch Rockets

The Rocket Evaluation and Cost Integration for Propulsion and Engineering software enables collaborative computing with automated exchange of information in the design and analysis of launch rockets and other complex systems. RECIPE can interact with and incorporate a variety of programs,...

Briefs : Materials
Treatment To Destroy Chloro-hydrocarbon Liquids in the Ground

A relatively simple chemical treatment that involves the use of emulsified iron has been found to be effective in remediating groundwater contaminated with trichloroethylene and other dense chlorohydrocarbon liquids. These liquids are members of the class of dense, non-aqueous phase...

Briefs : Materials
Process for Smoothing an Si Substrate After Etching of SiO₂

A reactive-ion etching (RIE) process for smoothing a silicon substrate has been devised. The process is especially useful for smoothing those silicon areas that have been exposed by etching a pattern of holes in a layer of silicon dioxide that covers the substrate. Applications in...

Briefs : Materials
Flexible Composite-Material Pressure Vessel

A proposed lightweight pressure vessel would be made of a composite of high-tenacity continuous fibers and a flexible matrix material. The flexibility of this pressure vessel would render it (1) compactly stowable for transport and (2) more able to withstand impacts, relative to lightweight pressure...

Briefs : Materials
Lower-Conductivity Thermal-Barrier Coatings

Thermal-barrier coatings (TBCs) that have both initial and post-exposure thermal conductivities lower than those of yttria-stabilized zirconia TBCs have been developed. TBCs are thin ceramic layers, generally applied by plasma spraying or physical vapor deposition, that are used to insulate air-cooled...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Noncircular Cross Sections Could Enhance Mixing in Sprays

A computational study has shown that by injecting drops in jets of gas having square, elliptical, triangular, or other noncircular injection cross sections, it should be possible to increase (relative to comparable situations having circular cross section) the entrainment and dispersion...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Probe Without Moving Parts Measures Flow Angle

The measurement of local flow angle is critical in many fluid-dynamic applications, including the aerodynamic flight testing of new aircraft and flight systems. Flight researchers at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center have recently developed, flight-tested, and patented the force-based flow-angle...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Predicting and Preventing Incipient Flameout in Combustors

A method of predicting and preventing incipient flameout in a combustor has been proposed. The method should be applicable to a variety of liquid- and gas-fueled combustors in furnaces and turbine engines. Until now, there have been methods of detecting flameouts after they have...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Detecting Conductive Liquid Leaking From Nonconductive Pipe

A method that can be implemented with relatively simple electronic circuitry provides a capability for detecting leakage of an electrically conductive liquid from an electrically nonconductive underground pipe. Alternatively or in addition, the method can be applied to locate the pipe,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Hot Films on Ceramic Substrates for Measuring Skin Friction

Hot-film sensors, consisting of a metallic film on an electrically nonconductive substrate, have been used to measure skin friction as far back as 1931. A hot film is maintained at an elevated temperature relative to the local flow by passing an electrical current through it. The power...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nulling Infrared Radiometer for Measuring Temperature

A nulling, self-calibrating infrared radiometer is being developed for use in noncontact measurement of temperature in any of a variety of industrial and scientific applications. This instrument is expected to be especially well-suited to measurement of ambient or near-ambient temperature...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Preparation of Regular Specimens for Atom Probes

A method of preparation of specimens of non-electropolishable materials for analysis by atom probes is being developed as a superior alternative to a prior method. In comparison with the prior method, the present method involves less processing time. Also, whereas the prior method yields...

Briefs : Information Technology
Combining Multiple Gyroscope Outputs for Increased Accuracy

A proposed method of processing the outputs of multiple gyroscopes to increase the accuracy of rate (that is, angular- velocity) readings has been developed theoretically and demonstrated by computer simulation. Although the method is applicable, in principle, to any gyroscopes, it is...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Metal Side Reflectors for Trapping Light in QWIPs

Focal-plane arrays of quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) equipped with both light-coupling diffraction gratings and metal side reflectors have been proposed, and prototypes are expected to be fabricated soon. The purpose served by the metal side reflectors is to increase quantum...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Metallized Capillaries as Probes for Raman Spectroscopy

A class of miniature probes has been proposed to supplant the fiber-optic probes used heretofore in some Raman and fluorescence spectroscopic systems. A probe according to the proposal would include a capillary tube coated with metal on its inside to make it reflective. A microlens would be...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Thermal Load Sensors for Automotive Applications

Next-generation thermal load sensors, or combo sensors, optimize climate control and lighting in "intelligent automobiles," thereby enhancing the comfort and safety of drivers and passengers. The sensors combine performance and quality with customized design to exceed the rigorous requirements of...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Inverse Tomo-Lithography for Making Microscopic 3D Parts

According to a proposal, basic x-ray lithography would be extended to incorporate a technique, called "inverse tomography," that would enable the fabrication of microscopic three-dimensional (3D) objects. The proposed inverse tomo-lithographic process would make it possible to produce...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
PC-Based Software for Pattern, Color, and Color Pattern Matching

Learning algorithms for machine vision are essential for many of the applications that require inspection and guidance. These algorithms typically require some type of learning step before the actual inspection can take place. Some of the algorithms that fall into this category...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Advanced Rainbow Solar Photovoltaic Arrays

Photovoltaic arrays of the rainbow type, equipped with light-concentrator and spectral-beam-splitter optics, have been investigated in a continuing effort to develop lightweight, high-efficiency solar electric power sources. This investigation has contributed to a revival of the concept of the rainbow...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Correcting for Beam Aberrations in a Beam-Waveguide Antenna

A method for correcting the aim of a beam-waveguide microwave antenna compensates for the beam aberration that occurs during radio tracking of a target that has a component of velocity transverse to the line of sight from the tracking station. The method was devised primarily for use in...


On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Heavy-Duty Engine Design for a Transitioning Market

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation


Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Lightweighting in Aerospace Component and System Design

NASA Spinoff: Transportation

Sterilizing Fogger Cleans Ambulances with a Breeze

Articles: Motion Control

Advantages of Servo Motor and Direct Drive Technology

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Multiple Sensors Aid in Development of an Electrical Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Gap Welding Preforms