Variable Power Handheld Laser Torch

A handheld laser torch was designed for welding and brazing metals to repair hard-to-reach space shuttle engine nozzles. It incorporates various manual controls and changing lenses to allow the operator to adjust the laser’s power output in real time. Applications are likely to be in-field welding and brazing of damaged equipment where traditional welding systems cannot easily access the welding area.

Compact Long-Reach Robotic Arm

A robotic arm features lightweight joints that provide a wide range of motion and numerous degrees of freedom. The arm, ideal for use in aquatic environments or for manipulation of light terrestrial loads, consists of articulating booms connected by cable tension elements. The tendon articulation allows the use of small, efficient motor systems.

NASA-427: A New Aluminum Alloy

NASA-427 is a strong aluminum alloy, ideal for cast aluminum products that have powder or paint-baked thermal coatings. The alloy improves the thermal coating process by decreasing the time required for heat treatment. With improvements in both strength and processing time, use of the alloy provides reduced materials and production costs, lower product weight, and better product performance.

Ultrasonic Stir Welding

Ultrasonic Stir Welding joins large pieces of very high-strength metals such as titanium and Inconel. Because of the independent control of process elements, closed-loop temperature control can be integrated into the system so that a constant weld nugget temperature can be maintained during welding. Applications include hardware for severe environments, launch vehicles, aircraft, automobiles, bridges, and trains.

Non-Collinear Valve Actuation System

The need to reduce the mass of valve actuators for flight systems resulted in NASA’s non-collinear valve actuator. The actuator may be used in a variety of applications that will benefit from lighter actuating systems or a smaller system footprint such as chemical plants, electrical power generating plants, oil and gas refiners, and water supply and treatment.

Thermal Stir Welding

Thermal stir welding improves upon fusion welding and friction stir welding. This technology enables a superior joining method by allowing manufacturers to join dissimilar materials and to weld at high rates. It offers users an alternative to fusion and friction stir welding technologies. Applications include aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding, storage tanks and cylinders, construction, and railway cars.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

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

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.