Special Coverage

NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Robotic Gripper Cleans Up Space Debris
Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space

Multifunctional Hot Structure (HOST) Heat Shield

Traditional heat shield design isolates the functions of the thermal protection system (TPS) from the underlying load-carrying structure. This is due to the use of brittle TPS material that cannot carry the structural loads and that ablate during planetary entry. To isolate the TPS, the traditional approach has been to either bond a strain isolation pad between the TPS and structure or to design the structure significantly thick to eliminate bending loads transferred to the TPS. Adhesive is used to bond the TPS to the pad and/or structure. These bond lines can be a source of stress concentrations and manufacturing flaws.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Products of Tomorrow: October 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Articles, Electronic Components, Lighting, Medical
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Pegasus 5.2 Software for Automated Pre-Processing of Overset CFD Grids

Pegasus software is used as a pre-processor for overset-grid Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. It provides the hole-cutting and connectivity information between structured overset grids. The main features of the software include automated hole-cutting algorithms, a projection scheme for fixing small discretization errors in overset surface, efficient interpolation search methods, hole-size optimization based on adding additional layers of fringe points, and an automatic restart capability. The code can run in parallel using the Message-Passing Interface (MPI) standard.

Posted in: Briefs, Software
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Fast, Sensitive Hydrogen Sensor

Hydrogen is a promising potential fuel for cars, buses, and other vehicles, and can be converted into electricity in fuel cells. It already is used in medicine and space exploration, as well as in the production of industrial chemicals and food products.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
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Feed Mechanism and Method for Feeding Minute Components

Electrical circuits such as printed wiring boards or hybrid microcircuits designed to utilize surface mount electrical components are commonly assembled by computer-controlled automated equipment. These machines typically use a vacuum nozzle to pick up and handle the components during assembly. Three methods are commonly used to feed surface mount components to automatic assembly equipment: tape reel feeders, linear or bowl-type vibratory feeders, or waffle-style packages.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Vibration-Dampening Pedestal for MEMS

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are critical devices for various highly sensitive applications; however, the development and potential fielding of these next-generation smart systems is currently impeded by the inability to satisfy the stringent performance standards for precision and control. These advanced smart systems currently suffer from severe inaccuracies caused by a critical failure of a MEMS inertial measurement unit (IMU), i.e., the angular rate sensor (ARS).

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Self-Healing, Self-Lubricating Tribofilm

Tribologists have developed a diamond-like film that is generated by the heat and pressure of an automotive engine. The ultra-durable, self-lubricating tribofilm — a film that forms between moving surfaces — can be made to develop self-healing, diamondlike carbon (DLC) tribofilms. The film generates itself by breaking down the molecules of the lubricating oil, and can regenerate the tribofilm as it is worn away.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Fiber-Optic Environmental Radiation Dosimeter

An all-optical, fiber-optic-coupled remote radiation sensor was developed using luminescent, copper-doped quartz material. The key to the technology is the doped quartz material, which produces a luminescence signal that is directly proportional to the radiation dose.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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Functionally Graded Metal-Metal Composite Structures

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a functionally graded metal-metal composite structure. The structure is created using a method that avoids deleterious reactions between the different metal constituents, as would be observed via conventional melt processing. The results are unique alloy compositions and arrangements not typically available through conventional processing routes.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Compact, Portable Device for Structural Vibration Reduction

Tuned mass dampers are used worldwide to mitigate vibrations in structures like buildings and bridges where excessive movement can be alarming or even sickening to occupants. The vast majority are multi-ton devices that occupy an average of 1,000 square feet, and are complex and costly to install, tune, and maintain.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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