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.

Quasi-thermostatic gas-gap thermal switches have been proposed. These switches would operate automatically, would contain no moving parts, would not require power supplies or controls, would...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Simulations in Support of Towed Flight Demonstration

The Eclipse flight project was established to demonstrate a reusable-launch-vehicle concept developed by Kelly Space and Technology, Inc. An F-106 delta-wing aircraft was chosen as the...

A focal-plane array (FPA) of GaAs-based quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) that would detect images in two wavelength bands simultaneously is undergoing development. From ratios...

GENOA is an advanced, completely integrated, hierarchical software package for computationally simulating the thermal and mechanical responses of high-temperature composite...

Ion-beam-deposited surface layers of diamond-like carbon (DLC) on fine-grain chemical-vapor-deposited (CVD) diamond have been found to be effective in reducing friction and wear in a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Miniature Side-Bore Sample-Acquisition Mechanism

The figure illustrates various aspects of a proposed mechanism that would be mounted in an instrumented penetrator dart for use in acquiring a sample of soil. In operation, the dart would be...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Delta-Doped CCDs for Measuring Energies of Positive Ions

Research closely related to that reported in the preceding article has shown that δ-doped charge-coupled devices (CCDs) could be used to detect incident protons and perhaps other positive ions, and to measure the kinetic energies of the ions, down to about 1.25 keV. Prior to the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Microscopic Heat Exchangers, Valves, Pumps, and Flowmeters

Microscopic forced-flow heat-transfer systems containing heat exchangers, flow channels, electrostatically driven peristaltic pumps, and related components have been proposed. These...

Charge-coupled devices (CCDs) of a type developed previously for imaging in ultraviolet light have been found to be useful as detectors of electrons and other charged particles with kinetic...

Two poly(arylene ether phosphine oxide)s (PAEPOs) have been found to be suitable as matrix and coating materials for composite-material (matrix/fiber) tanks and pipes that contain...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Procedure for Designing Safe Robots

A methodology for designing robots provides for satisfying both safety and performance requirements. Heretofore, most robot-design efforts have been focussed on maximizing performance, with only...

Linear-translation motors containing inertial-reaction masses driven by magnetostrictive actuator elements are undergoing development. These motors could be used to make fine position...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pulse-tube Refrigerator Unit

Pulse-tube Refrigerators can be operated over a wide range of temperatures. These units can be used in numerous space and commercial refrigeration applications, including food refrigerator/freezers, laboratory freezers, and freeze dryers. Pulse-tube Refrigerators can also be used to cool detectors and electronic...

Briefs: Motion Control
Device for High-Pressure Fused Deposition of Engineering Polymers From Feed Rods

A more versatile delivery system for fused deposition has recently been developed. This system uses a very stiff, precise, and compact actuator to drive a small piston/cylinder extruder that has a heated nozzle. Because feed rods are used as the feed material, this...

Two techniques have been proposed to reduce thermal-expansion mismatches between (a) substrates made of silicon, silicon-based ceramics, and silicon-based-ceramic composite...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Hardware-Command-Decoding ASIC

A hardware-command-decoding application-specific integrated circuit (HCD ASIC) is designed to decode digital command signals transmitted from a ground station to a spacecraft (uplink commands). Implemented in...

Briefs: Motion Control
Earthwormlike Exploratory Robots

Mobile robots that would resemble earthworms have been proposed for use in exploring remote, hostile, or inaccessible terrain surface and subsurface environments. This class of robots would be a special case...

A portable, self-contained, compact instrument measures and records transient electric fields generated by nearby lightning strikes. This instrument complements, and in many respects...

Devices containing planar arrays of micromachined, electrostatically adjustable Fabry-Perot interferometers are undergoing development. These devices could be designed, for...

The column-loading input chip (CLIC) is a conceptual integrated-circuit chip that would serve as an interface between (1) any of various sources of image data and (2) a three-dimensional...

The figure illustrates a dc-excited Anderson-loop circuit that includes (1) thermocouples for measuring the temperature of the strain gauge and (2) a signal-conditioning circuit that...

Briefs: Software
Application Specific Integrated Circuit Physical Layout for the RSDL ASIC

An integrated circuit physical layout has been developed for the RSDL ASIC™ — an integrated circuit that encodes telemetry data and transfers the data (which are grouped together in transfer frames) to a radio transmitter. The RSDL ASIC is described in "ASIC for...

A modified alloy, known as Modified PWA1484, is a single-crystal nickel-base superalloy, developed under a NASA Marshall Space Flight Center contract for use as a turbine blade and vane alloy for the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Software Models Processes in a Gaseous Chemical Reactor

The Simple Analysis of Materials Processing Reactors (SAMPR) computer code is meant for the analysis of plasma and nonplasma processes used in manufacturing semiconductors. The code can also be used to analyze any chemical-processing reactor with gaseous (but not liquid) streams.

As currently practiced, packaging of individual optoelectronic components accounts for 40-50 percent of product cost. The development of higher-volume, lower-cost optoelectronic...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Estimating Attitude From GPS Measurements on One Antenna

A technique for estimating the boresight direction of a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver antenna involves utilization of the relationship between the strengths of received signals and the direction-dependent antenna gain pattern. The technique is fundamentally different from, and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Automated Calibration of Temperature Transducers

An automated system of laboratory equipment and computer hardware and software reduces the time that technicians must spend in calibrating temperature transducers. The laboratory equipment includes a controlled-temperature bath, two digital multimeters for processing the outputs of two...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Lightweight, Radiation-Resistant EMI Shields

Due to their low density and exceptionally high strength and modulus, graphite fiber composites are being used increasingly for the fabrication of aircraft and spacecraft. Because of their...

A design has been developed for manufacturing multispeed transmissions that are small enough to be used with minimotors - electromagnetic motors with power ratings of less than 1 W. Like...

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