September 2003

Briefs : Medical
Exercise Device Would Exert Selectable Constant Resistance

An apparatus called the resistive exercise device (RED) has been proposed to satisfy a requirement for exercise equipment aboard the International Space Station (ISS) that could passively exert a selectable constant load on both the outward and return strokes. The RED could be used...

Briefs : Medical
Simulation of MEMS Piezoelectric Micropump for Biomedical Applications

Since the advent of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology, microfabrication methods have been used to manufacture a wide range of miniature pumps. These micropumps find their greatest use in chemical and biomedical applications requiring the transport of small,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Monitoring Volcanoes by Use of Air-Dropped Sensor Packages

Sensor packages that would be dropped from airplanes have been proposed for pre-eruption monitoring of physical conditions on the flanks of awakening volcanoes. The purpose of such monitoring is to gather data that could contribute to understanding and prediction of the evolution of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Capacitive Sensors for Measuring Masses of Cryogenic Fluids

An effort is under way to develop capacitive sensors for measuring the masses of cryogenic fluids in tanks. These sensors are intended to function in both microgravitational and normal gravitational settings, and should not be confused with level sensors, including capacitive ones. A...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Multimode Broad-Band Patch Antennas

Microstrip patch antennas of a proposed type would be tunable over broad wavelength ranges. These antennas would be attractive for use in a variety of microwave communication systems in which there are requirements for transmission and/or reception at multiple, widely separated frequencies.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
UHF Microstrip Antenna Array for Synthetic-Aperture Radar

An ultra-high-frequency microstrip-patch antenna has been built for use in airborne synthetic-aperture radar (SAR). The antenna design satisfies requirements specific to the GeoSAR program, which is dedicated to the development of a terrain-mapping SAR system that can provide information...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
164-GHz MMIC HEMT Frequency Doubler

A monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) that includes a high-electron-mobility transistor (HEMT) has been developed as a prototype of improved frequency doublers for generating signals at frequencies >100 GHz. Signal sources that operate in this frequency range are needed for a variety of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
GPS Position and Heading Circuitry for Ships

Circuit boards that contain radio-frequency (RF) and digital circuitry have been developed by NASA to satisfy a requirement of the Port of Houston Authority for relatively inexpensive Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers that indicate the azimuthal headings as well as the positions of ships. The...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonic/Sonic Mechanisms for Drilling and Coring

Two apparatuses now under development are intended to perform a variety of deep-drilling, coring, and sensing functions for subsurface exploration of rock and soil. These are modified versions of the apparatuses described in "Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors" (NPO-20856),...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advances in Thrust-Based Emergency Control of an Airplane

Engineers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center have received a patent on an emergency flight-control method implemented by a propulsion-controlled aircraft (PCA) system. Utilizing the pre-existing auto-throttle and engine-pressure-ratio trim controls of the airplane, the PCA system...

Briefs : Information Technology
Active State Model for Autonomous Systems

The concept of the active state model (ASM) is an architecture for the development of advanced integrated fault-detection- and-isolation (FDI) systems for robotic land vehicles, pilotless aircraft, exploratory spacecraft, or other complex engineering systems that will be capable of autonomous operation....

Briefs : Information Technology
Modernizing Fortran 77 Legacy Codes

The investment in established codes is preserved as modern capabilities are added.

An incremental approach to modernization of scientific software written in the Fortran 77 computing language has been developed. This approach makes it possible to preserve the investment in legacy Fortran software while...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Thermal-Insulation Systems for Low Temperatures

Improved thermal-insulation materials and structures and the techniques for manufacturing them are undergoing development for use in low-temperature applications. Examples of low-temperature equipment for which these thermal insulation systems could provide improved energy efficiency...

Briefs : Materials
Simplified Waterproofing of Aerogels

A relatively simple silanization process has been developed for waterproofing or rewaterproofing aerogels, xerogels, and aerogel/tile composites, and other, similar low-density, highly microporous materials. Such materials are potentially attractive for a variety of applications — especially for...

Briefs : Materials
Oxide Protective Coats for Ir/Re Rocket Combustion Chambers

An improved material system has been developed for rocket engine combustion chambers for burning oxygen/hydrogen mixtures or novel monopropellants, which are highly oxidizing at operating temperatures. The baseline for developing the improved material system is a prior iridium/rhenium...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Neutral-Axis Springs for Thin-Wall Integral Boom Hinges

A document proposes the use of neutral-axis springs to augment the unfolding torques of hinges that are integral parts of thin-wall composite-material booms used to deploy scientific instruments from spacecraft. A spring according to the proposal would most likely be made of metal and could...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shields for Enhanced Protection Against High-Speed Debris

A report describes improvements over the conventional Whipple shield (two thin, spaced aluminum walls) for protecting spacecraft against high-speed impacts of orbiting debris. The debris in question arise mainly from breakup of older spacecraft. The improved shields include exterior...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Device for Automated Cutting and Transfer of Plant Shoots

A device that enables the automated cutting and transfer of plant shoots is undergoing development for use in the propagation of plants in a nursery or laboratory. At present, it is standard practice for a human technician to use a knife and forceps to cut, separate, and grasp a plant...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Extension of Liouville Formalism to Postinstability Dynamics

A mathematical formalism has been developed for predicting the postinstability motions of a dynamic system governed by a system of nonlinear equations and subject to initial conditions. Previously, there was no general method for prediction and mathematical modeling of postinstability...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Scaling of Two-Phase Flows to Partial-Earth Gravity

A report presents a method of scaling, to partial-Earth gravity, of parameters that describe pressure drops and other characteristics of two-phase (liquid/ vapor) flows. The development of the method was prompted by the need for a means of designing two-phase flow systems to operate on the Moon...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Swarms of Micron-Sized Sensors

A paper presents the concept of swarms of micron-sized and smaller carriers of sensing equipment, denoted generally as controllable granular matter, to be used in exploring remote planets and interplanetary space. The design and manufacture of controllable granular matter would exploit advances in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Three-Dimensional Venturi Sensor for Measuring Extreme Winds

A three-dimensional (3D) Venturi sensor is being developed as a compact, rugged means of measuring wind vectors having magnitudes of as much as 300 mph (134 m/s). This sensor also incorporates auxiliary sensors for measuring temperature from -40 to +120 °F (-40 to +49 °C), relative...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Oxygen-Partial-Pressure Sensor for Aircraft Oxygen Mask

A device that generates an alarm when the partial pressure of oxygen decreases to less than a preset level has been developed to help prevent hypoxia in a pilot or other crewmember of a military or other high-performance aircraft. Loss of oxygen partial pressure can be caused by poor fit of...

Briefs : Software
Software for Managing Parametric Studies

The Information Power Grid Virtual Laboratory (ILab) is a Practical Extraction and Reporting Language (PERL) graphical-user-interface computer program that generates shell scripts to facilitate parametric studies performed on the Grid. ("The Grid" denotes a worldwide network of supercomputers used for...

Briefs : Software
Software Aids Visualization of Computed Unsteady Flow

Unsteady Flow Analysis Toolkit (UFAT) is a computer program that synthesizes motions of time-dependent flows represented by very large sets of data generated in computational fluid dynamics simulations. Prior to the development of UFAT, it was necessary to rely on static, single-snapshot...

Briefs : Software
Software for Testing Electroactive Structural Components

A computer program generates a graphical user interface that, in combination with its other features, facilitates the acquisition and preprocessing of experimental data on the strain response, hysteresis, and power consumption of a multilayer composite-material structural component...

Briefs : Software
Advanced Software for Analysis of High-Speed Rolling-Element Bearings

COBRA-AHS is a package of advanced software for analysis of rigid or flexible shaft systems supported by rolling-element bearings operating at high speeds under complex mechanical and thermal loads. These loads can include centrifugal and thermal loads generated by motions of...

Briefs : Software
Web Program for Development of GUIs for Cluster Computers

WIGLAF (a Web Interface Generator and Legacy Application Façade) is a computer program that provides a Webbased, distributed, graphical-user-interface (GUI) framework that can be adapted to any of a broad range of application programs, written in any programming language, that are...

Briefs : Software
XML-Based Generator of C++ Code for Integration With GUIs

An open source computer program has been developed to satisfy a need for simplified organization of structured input data for scientific simulation programs. Typically, such input data are parsed in from a flat American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) text file into...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Six Classes of Diffraction-Based Optoelectronic Instruments

Six classes of diffraction-based optoelectronic instruments have been invented as means for wavelength-based processing of light. One family of anticipated applications lies in scientific instrumentation for studying chemical and physical reactions that affect and/or are affected...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
PC-Based Software for Optical Character Recognition

PC-based machine vision systems are becoming more powerful as the individual components that comprise them increase in performance. This has allowed for more complex algorithms to be developed that can learn, see, identify, and guide. Learning algorithms for machine vision are essential for...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Improved Apparatus for Measuring Distance Between Axles

An improved version of an optoelectronic apparatus for measuring distances of the order of tens of feet with an error no larger than a small fraction of an inch (a few millimeters) has been built. Like the previous version, the present improved version of the apparatus is designed to...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Miniature Thermal Imaging Cameras for Firefighting Applications

The ability to detect the temperature differences of objects is vitally important to firefighters, who must often open doors that lead to fires and identify the seat and extension of a fire quickly and reliably. This palm-sized thermal imaging camera (TIC), the Omega™, has a very...