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.

Sensors made largely of commercially available optical and electronic components are being developed for use in measuring small horizontal displacements of payloads suspended below...

A method that includes the use of modified equations of state has been developed to enable noniterative, efficient computation of the thermodynamic behaviors of gases and liquids at...

The figure schematically illustrates an apparatus and process in which a continuous tow of silicon carbide fibers is coated and infiltrated with a polymer/silicon slurry. A compact of such...

An improved process has been devised for making closed channels (e.g., coolant channels) in a heat-exchanger liner or a similar metal object. The process involves the following steps:...

The figure illustrates one of several related pin-puller mechanisms that harness the recovery characteristics of a shape-memory alloy (SMA). Like some other SMA-actuated mechanisms...

Three coplanar-stripline circuits have been designed to perform coupling and filtering functions in microwave systems. These circuits could be incorporated into feed networks for microwave...

Data signals can be transmitted via the same optical fibers that are used to transmit power from base stations to remote stations containing sensors and associated circuitry. [A prototype...

The figure illustrates an apparatus for measuring heat-transfer and pressure-drop characteristics of porous plug specimens in oscillating flows. The apparatus is built around an...

Briefs: Materials
Testing Corrosion Prevention in Reinforced Concrete

An accelerated-testing method has been developed for evaluating the effectiveness of various measures taken to prevent the corrosion of steel reinforcing bars ("rebars") cast into concrete. Such measures can include chemical admixtures incorporated into the concrete, coatings, penetrants,...

A compact fiber-optic probe has been found to be useful for noncontact diagnosis of interior parts of eyes. The probe was originally developed for performing...

A great increase in the effectiveness of fiber optic systems is possible with a device that allows for simultaneous two-way signalling of multiple data streams on a single optical...

A generalized mathematical model has been devised for use in analyzing the pyrolysis of arbitrarily specified (but typical) biomass feedstocks at atmospheric pressure. The model...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Wheel Drive of Mars Rover

A brief report summarizes the design of the lightweight, high-torque wheel drive of a small robotic vehicle used to explore the surface of Mars. Planetary gearing was selected for compactness and high torque capability. The input stages were fitted with ball bearings to survive the cold (down to -100 °C) Martian...

An improved motor controller provides a circuit that will allow a motor to run at full speed while traveling from point A to point B, and still be able to obtain the desired damping...

The tunable external cavity diode laser is an important new tool used to evaluate and test the latest fiber-optic components and building blocks of modern telecommunications systems. A key factor...

A technique of gentle, highly selective gas-phase etching of silicon has been devised to enable the fabrication of microelectromechanical devices integrated with electronic circuits. For...

Thermal-insulation blankets developed for use aboard the space shuttle can be adapted to a racing car to protect the driver against excessive cockpit heating. [Also see an earlier article...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Signaling-and-Detection Scheme for Beacon Monitoring

A signaling-and-detection scheme has been proposed for use in conjunction with the remote-monitoring concept described in "Beacon Monitoring Would Reduce Interactions With Remote Systems" (NPO-19706), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 21, No. 5 (May 1997), page 54. To recapitulate: A remote system (a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Manipulator System for a Robotic Vehicle

A prototype manipulator system that includes two different arms has been tentatively selected for use on a semiautonomous robotic vehicle called Rocky 7 (see figure). [A previous version of this...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Automated Window Inspection Device

The Automated Window Inspection Device (AWID) is a prototype apparatus for computer-controlled, noncontact inspection of windows, with reproducible positioning and electronic recording of data on the...

A proposed electro-optical image-processing system would enable remote viewing of an object through a multimode optical fiber, as though the fiber were a conventional image-transmitting optic like a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Wind Masts for Meteorological Instruments

Rigid, guyed masts of a proposed type for supporting meteorological instruments would be designed to withstand considerably stronger winds than those conventionally used. The proposed fairings...

A mathematical model of a special class of solid/fluid chemical reactions has been developed for use in analyzing the pyrolysis of particles of cellulose, wood, and similar biomass...

A mathematical model has been developed for use in assessing the performances of direct-contact pyrolysis reactors used to convert particles of raw biomass materials (usually small...

A highly sensitive micromachined accelerometer that is intended to be exposed to very small accelerations during operation incorporates features for protection against much larger...

Briefs: Information Technology
Software for Improving Operational Processes

The Schedule and Cost Risk Analysis Modeling System (SCRAM) computer program identifies important sources of schedule and cost risks in an operational process. The related Process Analysis and Improvement Support System (PASS) program assists in the overall analysis and improvement of an operational...

An operator interface is undergoing development along with other subsystems of a robot that would assist in caring for elderly and disabled patients. This development has been initiated...

Briefs: Information Technology
Software for Planning in a Hierarchical Processing Environment

Decision-support software based on discrete-event simulation (DES) has been undergoing development for use in planning and scheduling work in the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) at Kennedy Space Center. The software is also suitable for adaptation to similar use in other facilities...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Evaluation of Droplet-Evaporation Models for Gas/Liquid Flow

A report presents an evaluation of eight mathematical models of the evaporation of liquid droplets — models that are used in the numerical simulation of a variety of gas/liquid flows, including cooling sprays, burning liquid-fuel sprays, fire-suppression sprays, and...

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