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: Photonics/Optics

The figure illustrates aspects of a lightweight, relatively inexpensive solar photovoltaic module suitable for use on Earth or in outer space in conjunction with at least a...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

An imaging method to detect flaws in composite pressure vessels used in the aerospace industry has been developed. Solid-rocket-motor casings and fuel or oxidizer tanks for liquid rocket motors can now be...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

An all-electronic digital particle-image velocimetry (PIV) system has been developed for use in measuring three-dimensional velocities at numerous points throughout a plane of interest...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

An oscillator circuit that contains superconductive and ferroelectric resonator elements is undergoing development. This circuit is designed to serve as a frequency-locked...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

Scanning-mode shadowgraphy has been proposed as an alternative optical technique for diagnosis of shock waves. Under suitable conditions, scanning-mode shadowgraphy could overcome the...

Briefs: Software
Quick and Unusually Easy Repository Search Software

The Quick and Unusually Easy Repository Search computer program simplifies the search for information contained in a repository of documents at Marshall Space Flight Center. Searching for information on the basis of general subjects can be very time-consuming and frustrating: The repository at...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

A sonochemical treatment has been proposed for removing hydrazine contaminants from water. The basis of the proposal is a conjecture that the sonochemical effect in water containing...

Briefs: Information Technology

A program of research on the use of wavelets for compression of data in a parallel-computing environment has led to development of a scheme for compressing image data. The purpose of the...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Thermal-desorption x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (TDXPS) is a technique in which the thermal aspect of thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) is combined with non-angle-resolved x-ray...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated Calibration of Torque Analyzers Without Weights

An automated apparatus calibrates digital torque analyzers that, in turn, are used to verify the accuracies of torque wrenches. The apparatus is located in a central laboratory, and the digital torque analyzers are brought to the laboratory for calibration. Previously, the torque...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Ultraviolet Hygrometer

An ultraviolet hygrometer has been developed that uses an optical technique to provide fast response, stable calibration, and immunity to airborne contaminants. It is a two-wavelength two-path instrument that relies on the differential absorption by water vapor of two wavelengths in the vacuum ultraviolet. The differential...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

NREL scientists have developed an optical processing furnace that combines photonic effects of light with heat to selectively induce reactions at far lower temperatures than they would be if caused by heat alone....

Briefs: Materials
Two Methods for Purifying Carbon Tetrachloride

Two methods have been developed to purify large batches of technical-grade carbon tetrachloride. The relatively impure carbon tetrachloride that had been purchased for use in infrared analysis of dissolved hydrocarbons proved that it could be purified. One method is spinning-band distillation, which...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Controlled-Orientation Short-Fiber Composite Bodies

A technique for depositing materials into position using a positive-displacement extruder to build up a body has been developed. This technique also includes a process to prepare composite materials through a solid free-body forming process containing directionally aligned short-fiber...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

A computational method for designing all-dielectric grating electromagnetic filters involves a combination of (1) numerical simulation of filter performance via integral-equation...

Briefs: Materials
Nitrogen-Beam Source for Deposition of III/V Nitrides

A nitrogen-beam source has been developed to significantly improve the synthesis of wide-band-gap nitrides.

Briefs: Physical Sciences

The figure schematically illustrates an improved apparatus for generating a flow of gas with precise, stable humidity. Such flows are needed for calibration of dew-point, frost-point, and...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Recombination lifetime and minority-carrier lifetime are key performance parameters of semiconductor wafers used for microelectronics and solar cells. They are also...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

A technique based on infrared-emission spectroscopy has been found to be useful for noncontact measurement of the temperature of a hot spot in the gate channel of a GaAs...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Rechargeable, thin-film, lithium-based microbatteries of the proposed type would be manufactured in the discharged condition, and lithium anodes would be formed in situ during...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

An instrumentation system automates the detection and location of faults in multiconductor electrical cables. It can accelerate diagnoses of aircraft, automotive, or industrial cables, while reducing...

Briefs: Information Technology

A unified theory of linear time-invariant (LTI) representations has been developed for use in the analysis and design of adaptive, narrow-band, feedforward controllers for systems...

Briefs: Software
Program for Design Analysis of Cache Memory

CACHESIM is a C-language computer program that simulates (1) cache-memory options associated with a computer hardware design concept and (2) related properties that can be expected to affect the overall performance of the computer, before the computer is constructed. Heretofore, the performance...

Briefs: Software
Software for Retrieval and Display of Planetary Data

The NASAView computer program provides access to, and display of, sets of scientific data in the Planetary Data System (PDS) archive. These data — totalling about 5 terabytes — were acquired during NASA's planetary-exploration missions and are stored along with descriptive information...

Briefs: Software
Program for Microanalysis of Composite Structures

Version 3.0 of the Boundary Element Solutions Technology Composite Modeling System (BESTCMS 3.0) is an advanced engineering software system for the microanalysis of fiber composite structures. BESTCMS is based on the BEST3D boundary-element program (COSMIC program LEW-15351). BESTCMS affords...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Development of Small, Mobile, Special-Purpose Robots

A report presents a scenario for the proposed development of insectlike robots that would be equipped with microsensors and/or micromanipulators, and would be designed, variously, to crawl, burrow, swim, fly, or hop, to perform specific tasks in fields as diverse as exploration,...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Adaptive performance optimization (APO) is an approach for improving aircraft performance without the need for extensive modifications of hardware. In this approach, one exploits...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

A modification of design has been proposed to extend the longevity of cavity-type solar thermal receivers by improving the distribution of radiant solar flux in the cavities. A...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Weighted-Hyperbola Technique for Locating Pulsed Sources

The weighted-hyperbola technique is an iterative computational technique for processing data on the times of arrival of pulsed signals at more than four observing stations to determine location (in both space and time) of origin of the signals. (The location is overdetermined when data...

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