A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

A new process and equipment have been developed for reducing the emissions of hazardous nitrogen oxides (NOx), and eliminating a hazardous waste stream. In this process, a...

Vacuum plasma spraying (VPS) has been demonstrated to be an effective technique for the fabrication of refractory-metal components of solar-thermal engines. Heretofore, such...

A developmental electronic system that includes Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers is designed to track the relative position and velocity to two airplanes in real time. In...

A concept for optimizing the designs of two-wavelength GaAs-based quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) could make it practical to use focal-plane arrays of QWIPs as image sensors...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Vacuum Three-Ball Tribometer for Testing Liquid Lubricants

A three-ball tribometer has been developed for use in evaluating the performances of oils and greases as lubricants in a vacuum at room temperature. This apparatus differs from the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Methanol-Fuel-Cell Biplate Improved for Removal of Water

An improved design for a biplate in a methanol fuel cell provides increased efficiency in the removal of water, relative to older designs. For reasons explained below, this design both improves the performance of the fuel cell and increases the overall energy efficiency of the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Study of DLS Monitoring of the Growth of Protein Crystals

A report describes an experimental study of whether an advanced fiber-optic dynamic-light-scattering (DLS) probe affords a capability for noncontact detection of particles of various sizes associated with the stages of growth of protein crystals in automated hanging-drop protein-growth...

Modules of electronic circuitry that perform the amplitude- and phase-control and the status-monitoring functions for eight-element (2 ×4) subarrays of K-band phased-array antennas...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Penetrator Projectile Tolerates Some Misalignment

A two-body design has enabled an instrumented penetrator projectile to function with increased tolerance to initial misalignment among (a) the longitudinal axis of the penetrator, (b) the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mars Lander

A brief report presents drawings for the conceptual design of a spacecraft that would land on Mars or another remote planet. The spacecraft would have a tetrahedral shape, would include airbags to cushion impact, and would have a self-righting capability. The drawings show the general appearance of the spacecraft and show the...

A rapid densification technology uses nanostructured powders to produce ceramic devices and components. This technology provides ceramic monoliths and composites that can be used in the...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Delta-Doped Hybrid Advanced Detector

The delta-doped hybrid advanced detector is a developmental integrated electronic imaging and detecting circuit designed to be sensitive to (1) charged particles with kinetic energies ranging from...

A process for the fabrication of improved high-temperature fiber-optic sensor heads has been proposed. Fiber-optic sensor heads that can withstand hot, dirty, noisy environments are...

A vapor drying treatment removes traces of water and other contaminant residues that remain on the surface of a patterned semiconductor substrate after chemical cleaning in...

An information-reduced carrier-synchronization (IRCS) system has been proposed for use in a coded binary-phase-shift-keying (BPSK) radio-communication receiver...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Fabrication of Diffractive GaAs Microlenses

A planar array of microscopic diffractive optical elements that resemble macroscopic Fresnel lenses can be fabricated as an array of continuous relief patterns on a GaAs substrate by a procedure that includes the transfer of a corresponding array of patterns formed on a surface layer of poly(methyl...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Micromachined Magnetostatic Switches

Magnetostatic switches — switches that open or close in response to magnetic fields — are being developed and fabricated using micromachining (MEMS) technology. These switches operate similarly to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robot Hands With Electroactive-Polymer Fingers

Multifinger electroactive-polymer grippers (MEPGs) are simple, compact, lightweight robotic end effectors with fingers that bend and function similarly to human fingers. The fingers are made...

Carbon-based materials containing, variously, metals and metal oxides can be synthesized according to a method that involves reactions of metal chlorides with materials of general...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Methodology for Optimizing Designs of Rotating Turbine Disks

A methodology for optimizing the fundamental structural designs of rotating turbine disks has been developed to aid in preliminary evaluations of various gas-turbine-engine...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Rib Valve as Shutter for Air Swirler in Combustor Nozzle

A rib valve is under consideration for use as a shutter in an air swirler in the fuel nozzle of a variable-geometry combustor. In the original application, the variable-geometry...

Briefs: Software
Simulation by Logical Modeling of Costs

The Simulation by Logical Modeling of Costs (SIBYL/COST) software subsystem is used by logistical and financial analysts to develop cost projections of labor and hardware requirements for preparation of space shuttle main engine (SSME) spares proposals, SSME program operating plans (POPs), and special...

The figure illustrates aspects of a proposed switching protocol for optical packet data communication that would serve as an alternative to the older store-and-forward and header-first...

A novel airdata system based on flush-mounted pressure sensors has been developed for the X-33 aerospace vehicle. Denoted the "X-33 flush airdata sensing" (FADS) system, it was...

MoSi2-based composite materials are among the advanced materials undergoing development as potential strong, stiff, lightweight replacements for the nickel-based superalloys...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Walking Robot for Internal Inspection of Thin-Wall Ducts

A walking robot connected to external instrumentation via a tether has been proposed to enable visual inspections, retrieval of loose objects, and some repairs inside thin-wall round...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Automated Cargo-Tracking Transponders

Credit-card-sized electronic transponders have been proposed for use in tracking cargo anywhere on Earth. A transponder would be carried on a cargo container, where it would act as a "smart tag." The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Biomorphic Explorers

"Biomorphic explorers" are a class of proposed small robots that would be equipped with microsensors and would feature animallike adaptability and mobility. These robots would capture key features, a specific design or...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Computer-Controlled Instrumentation Measures Hydrogen Leaks

An instrumentation system monitors rates of leakage of hydrogen from multiple zones on a complexly shaped tank. Each zone is established by bagging a designated exterior portion of the tank. The bag for each zone is purged with a carrier gas (either nitrogen or helium) at a controlled...

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