Tech Briefs

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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.

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

An electromagnetic shaker based on a linear induction motor has been developed for use in flight flutter testing of aircraft. The shaker is a wing-tip-mounted unit capable of delivering...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Some additional applications have been proposed to exploit amplification by stimulated Brillouin scattering ("Brillouin Amplification" for short), building on the concepts introduced in the preceding...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

A hybrid-grid scheme has been developed to afford a computationally efficient means for numerically solving equations of both (1) coupled flows of heat and mass in a fluid and (2)...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

The Paperless Procedure System (PPS) is a computer-based, semiautomated electronic system for collection and management of quality-assurance data in a large organization. The original...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Overview of Tapered-Slot Antennas

A document presents a comprehensive overview of the technology of tapered-slot antennas and arrays of such antennas. The fundamental operation of tapered-slot antennas is not yet fully understood, and, for lack of established design rules, the designs of these antennas have been based primarily on empirical...

Briefs: Materials

Improved concrete structural members such as columns, piers, and piles can be manufactured by incorporating fiber-reinforced-plastic (FRP) exterior shells and FRP interior submembers. The...

Briefs: Materials
Creep-Resistant Ceramic Composite for High-Temperature Use

A low-density, creep-resistant ceramic composite material has been developed as a prototype of such materials for use at high temperatures in the next generation of aircraft engines. The material consists of Nextel (or equivalent) ceramic fibers in a matrix that is, itself, a composite...

Briefs: Materials

Nearly isotropic matrix/fiber composite materials can be made quickly and at relatively low cost by resin-transfer molding. The fiber components of these materials are fine, loosely woven,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A generic actuator has been designed to amplify the piezoelectric effect. The Bidirectional Operating Actuator (BOA) amplifies the stroke of a piezoelectric element and reorients it through a kinematic...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

The figure schematically illustrates an automated electronic vision system that operates in conjunction with a scanning robot to inspect a large surface for damage. In the original...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Micromachined Monopropellant Thrusters

A report proposes monopropellant microthrusters for a new generation of miniature spacecraft with mission lifetimes stretching into years. These thrusters would include micromachined nozzle/chamber assemblies containing microvalves, designed according to emerging concepts of microelectromechanical systems...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Control System for Steerable, Rooftop-Mounted Antenna

An excerpt from JPL Document D-12104 presents additional information on the control system of a steerable microwave antenna that is mounted on the roof of a land vehicle and used to communicate with a geostationary satellite. The antenna and control system were described previously in...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Fabrication of Arrays of Large Step-Free Regions on Si(100)

When a silicon wafer is cut from an ingot, it is essentially impossible to align the cut perfectly with the crystal structure. Therefore the surface contour of the wafer will be a flat plane on which terraces consisting of additional atomic layers will be scattered. An atomic step will...

Briefs: Materials

Experiments have shown that carbon-based materials containing pure metallic iron, alloys of iron, halides of iron, and/or oxides of iron can be synthesized from precursors of...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

A substrate of nickel coated with a thin layer of silver and further coated with a thin protective layer of silicon dioxide has been found to constitute an optically reflective...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Two closely related methods of optical inspection and computation yield data on misalignments between critical features in different layers of microfabricated devices. Examples...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

An improved type of optoelectronic oscillator is based on Brillouin amplification. An oscillator of this type converts light energy into an electro-optical oscillation, typically at a...

Briefs: Materials
Evaluation of Additives to PFPEs in Boundary Lubrication

A report describes experiments on the wear-reducing performances of six additives to perfluoropolyether (PFPE)-based fluids in the boundary-lubrication regime. The additives were a phosphate, a thiophosphate, a β-diketone, a benzothiazole, an amide/thiol, and a sulfite. Each additive was...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Engineers have designed a new device, called the Smart Washer, that can electromagnetically detect bolthole cracks in metal structures. The device is a metal washer that contains...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Stimulated Brillouin Scattering (SBS) in optical fibers can be exploited to obtain frequency conversion with amplification and frequency-selective amplification in photonic...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

The figure illustrates the major functional blocks of an impedance-based cable-testing apparatus that can locate an open or short circuit in a cable. There is no need to disconnect the cable from all other...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

A cable-testing apparatus has been designed for use in detecting a short or open circuit in a cable, subject to a special frequency requirement as explained in the next paragraph. This cable tester is...

Briefs: Materials

An improved nonlinear mathematical model is being developed for use in predicting the complex, time-varying stress-and-strain behaviors of viscoelastic materials. The development of...

Briefs: Materials

A method of computational simulation of progressive fracture in composite-material (matrix/fiber) structural components has been developed. This method does not involve...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Curves of limiting voltage (V) as a function of temperature (T) for nickel/cadmium cells and batteries can be computed by use of a mathematical cell model based on first...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

The Lightning Detection and Ranging (LDAR) system is a network of lightning-monitoring stations at Kennedy Space Center. The LDAR system contains equipment for measuring and indicating the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

In-situ resource utilization (ISRU) equipment would be incorporated into remotely controlled exploratory robots, according to a proposal, to generate fuels and oxidizers to extend...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A structure provides rigid support for a cryogenic component but transmits minimal heat. The structure includes two beams of Invar (or equivalent low-thermal expansion iron/nickel alloy) that...

Briefs: Materials

A foam suppressor removes soap and other foaming agents from a stream of wastewater that is being treated electrolytically. This wastewater is a combination of laundry, hygiene, and urine wastewater. It is...

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