The alumina for making a suspension according to this concept must be in the form of a highly pure (preferably >99.99 percent) powder with a suitable particle-size distribution...

A heat exchanger made largely from pieces of single-crystal silicon has been designed for use as a recuperator in a reverse-Brayton-cycle cryocooler. Its design is optimized for transferring...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Lightweight Dual-Beam Reflector Antenna

The figure illustrates a lightweight composite-material dual-beam reflector antenna for the SeaWinds spaceborne scatterometer instrument, which operates in the Ku band and is designed to...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of Thin-Film Type-S Thermocouples

Processes for fabricating thin-film type-S thermocouples on metal and silicon nitride substrates (see figure) have been developed. (A type-S thermocouple comprises one leg made of platinum and...

An improved method of analysis and design offers the potential to enhance the performances of adaptive feedforward tracking systems. The method can, in principle, make it possible to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible Actuators for Small, Mobile, Special-Purpose Robots

A report discusses flexible microactuators for a proposed generation of small, mobile, special-purpose robots. Aspects of this topic were discussed in two previous articles in NASA Tech Briefs: "Thin-Film, Light-Energized Bimorph Micromechanical Actuators" (NPO-19607), Vol. 20, No. 8...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Sight-to-Touch Translator

The sight-to-touch translator (ST3) is a conceptual electronic apparatus that would generate a tactile representation of visible objects in its vicinity. The ST3 would be worn by a blind...

Briefs: Software
Software for Tooth-Contact Analysis of Spiral Bevel Gears

The SBGTAPER computer program implements a method for design and generation of spiral bevel gears that feature tapered teeth with localized bearing contact and a low level of transmission errors. The influence of misalignment on transmission errors and shift of bearing contact were...

Briefs: Information Technology
Expressing Object-Oriented Concepts in Fortran 90

A methodology for object-oriented programming in Fortran 90 has been developed. The methodology provides for emulation of the most important object-oriented concepts of C++; namely, classes (including abstract data types, encapsulation, and function overloading), inheritance, and dynamic...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gas Buffer Seal

The figure presents a simplified view of a shaft seal that provides a small flow of neutral buffer gas to prevent contact between different gases contained in two adjacent regions along the shaft. In the original application,...

Sensors made largely of commercially available optical and electronic components are being developed for use in measuring small horizontal displacements of payloads suspended below...

A method that includes the use of modified equations of state has been developed to enable noniterative, efficient computation of the thermodynamic behaviors of gases and liquids at...

The figure schematically illustrates an apparatus and process in which a continuous tow of silicon carbide fibers is coated and infiltrated with a polymer/silicon slurry. A compact of such...

An improved process has been devised for making closed channels (e.g., coolant channels) in a heat-exchanger liner or a similar metal object. The process involves the following steps:...

The figure illustrates one of several related pin-puller mechanisms that harness the recovery characteristics of a shape-memory alloy (SMA). Like some other SMA-actuated mechanisms...

Three coplanar-stripline circuits have been designed to perform coupling and filtering functions in microwave systems. These circuits could be incorporated into feed networks for microwave...

Data signals can be transmitted via the same optical fibers that are used to transmit power from base stations to remote stations containing sensors and associated circuitry. [A prototype...

The figure illustrates an apparatus for measuring heat-transfer and pressure-drop characteristics of porous plug specimens in oscillating flows. The apparatus is built around an...

Briefs: Materials
Testing Corrosion Prevention in Reinforced Concrete

An accelerated-testing method has been developed for evaluating the effectiveness of various measures taken to prevent the corrosion of steel reinforcing bars ("rebars") cast into concrete. Such measures can include chemical admixtures incorporated into the concrete, coatings, penetrants,...

A compact fiber-optic probe has been found to be useful for noncontact diagnosis of interior parts of eyes. The probe was originally developed for performing...

A great increase in the effectiveness of fiber optic systems is possible with a device that allows for simultaneous two-way signalling of multiple data streams on a single optical...

A generalized mathematical model has been devised for use in analyzing the pyrolysis of arbitrarily specified (but typical) biomass feedstocks at atmospheric pressure. The model...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Wheel Drive of Mars Rover

A brief report summarizes the design of the lightweight, high-torque wheel drive of a small robotic vehicle used to explore the surface of Mars. Planetary gearing was selected for compactness and high torque capability. The input stages were fitted with ball bearings to survive the cold (down to -100 °C) Martian...

An improved motor controller provides a circuit that will allow a motor to run at full speed while traveling from point A to point B, and still be able to obtain the desired damping...

The tunable external cavity diode laser is an important new tool used to evaluate and test the latest fiber-optic components and building blocks of modern telecommunications systems. A key factor...

A technique of gentle, highly selective gas-phase etching of silicon has been devised to enable the fabrication of microelectromechanical devices integrated with electronic circuits. For...

Thermal-insulation blankets developed for use aboard the space shuttle can be adapted to a racing car to protect the driver against excessive cockpit heating. [Also see an earlier article...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Signaling-and-Detection Scheme for Beacon Monitoring

A signaling-and-detection scheme has been proposed for use in conjunction with the remote-monitoring concept described in "Beacon Monitoring Would Reduce Interactions With Remote Systems" (NPO-19706), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 21, No. 5 (May 1997), page 54. To recapitulate: A remote system (a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Manipulator System for a Robotic Vehicle

A prototype manipulator system that includes two different arms has been tentatively selected for use on a semiautonomous robotic vehicle called Rocky 7 (see figure). [A previous version of this...

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