The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. If you are interested in licensing the technologies described here, use the contact information provided. To learn about more available technologies, visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal at .

Flash Infrared Thermography Software

Originally developed as a nondestructive evaluation technique for the space shuttle, Johnson Space Center’s cost-efficient infrared (IR) flash thermography software program detects subsurface anomalies such as voids, cracks, and delamination in composite and metallic structures, in flat or curved surfaces. Using an innovative IR contrast methodology, this software accurately measures flaw depth, width, and diameter. The software has applications in aerospace, as well as nondestructive testing and evaluation, IR camera manufacturing, and IR thermography analysis.

Contact: Johnson Technology Transfer Office

Phone: 281-483-3809

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Conductive Coatings to Prevent Corrosion In Metals

With increasing restrictions by the EPA on Volatile Organic Com pounds (VOCs), alternative additives for preventing corrosion that can be dispersed in water-based coatings are of increasing importance. Polyaniline is an intrinsically conductive polymer (ICP) that has the potential to be used in a number of applications such as LEDs, rechargeable batteries, EMI shielding, antistatic coatings, and smart windows, as well as in corrosion prevention on metal surfaces such as bridges, railroads, and pipelines. Lignosulfonic acid-doped polyaniline, developed at Kennedy Space Center, is dispersible in water and fairly soluble in organic solvents, providing increased processability.

Contact: Kennedy Technology Transfer Office

Phone: 321-861-7158 

Liquid Level Sensing Using Fiber Optics

NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center has developed a highly accurate method for measuring liquid levels using optical fibers. Unlike liquid level gauges that rely on discrete measurements to give broad approximations of liquid levels, this fiber optic method provides precise and accurate measurements at ¼" intervals within a tank. Originally designed to monitor a rocket’s cryogenic fuel levels, this technology can be used in industries that require level measurement within large containers or for materials that are difficult to measure, including liquid fuel launch vehicles and satellites, chemical or refinery plants, industrial tanks to measure level of cryogenic or other liquids, food and beverage manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and medical or hospital operations.

Contact: Armstrong Technology Transfer Office

Phone: 661-276-3368

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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