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 http://technology.nasa.gov .
Drain System for Pools, Spas, and Tanks Marshall Space Flight
Center developed a system that reduces the entrapment risks associated with a pool or spa’s recirculation drain. The technology prevents hazards caused by suction forces on the body, hair, clothing, or other articles. It uses a novel configuration of drainage openings along with parallel paths for water flow, redistributing force over a much larger area, and minimizing suction force at any localized area. With more efficient drainage and recirculation, the device improves performance, increases safety, and decreases operating costs. All of these benefits come without a protrusive drain cover, leaving the area safe and aesthetically pleasing.
Marshall Space Flight Center
Specular Coatings for Composite Structures
Goddard Space Flight Center developed a method for bonding dissimilar materials using an elastic adhesive that permits the bond to withstand variations in temperature and pressure. The new method uses a combination of thermally and chemically stable materials to withstand large thermal shock loads. This innovation makes use of aluminized Kapton film that is normally used in fabricating thermal blankets for spaceflight hardware. The smooth finish and aluminum coating of the Kapton film provides the specularity. The coating method can be used in any application requiring lightweight mirrors or reflectors.
Goddard Space Flight Center
The Vibration Ring
Originally designed to reduce helicopter cabin noise, Glenn Research Center’s vibration ring provides damping of rotors, gears, bearings, and fans within the driveline without disrupting the operation or position tolerance of a mechanical assembly. Besides significantly attenuating vibration-induced noise, it also reduces overall wear and tear, and the ring can generate electrical energy to power sensors on rotating machine parts. The ring-shaped mechanism reduces the effect of machine vibrations by converting applied vibratory energy into electricity. The mechanism is self-contained and requires no external wiring.