Tech Briefs

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 : Test & Measurement
Directed Design of Experiments for Validating Probability of Detection Capability of a Testing System

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed new software that enables users of critical inspection systems to validate the capability of the inspection system. Traditionally, inspection systems are validated using various methodologies to...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Method and Apparatus for Measuring Surface Air Pressure

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a novel method for long-range atmospheric pressure sensing. Based on known properties involving oxygen density, the technology is able to measure small pressure changes over a wide area. NASA developed the technology to address known gaps in...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
HEIST Ironbird to Test Cutting-Edge Hybrid Electric Propulsion Technologies

A key goal of NASA’s aeronautics research is to help the aircraft industry transition to low-carbon propulsion. Many potential power architectures for electric propulsion have been proposed, and design considerations for turbo-electric distributed propulsion have been...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Saturn Net Flux Radiometer (SNFR)

A Saturn Net Flux Radiometer (SNFR) is being developed as part of a payload for a future NASA-led Saturn Probe Mission. The current design has two spectral channels i.e., a solar channel (0.4-to-5 μm) and a thermal channel (4-to-50 μm). The SNFR is capable of viewing five distinct viewing angles during the...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Applying the Dynamic Inertia Measurement Method to Full-Scale Aerospace Vehicles

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have been interested in using the Dynamic Inertia Measurement (DIM) method on full-scale aerospace test vehicles, given its advantages over traditional methods for determining the mass properties of such...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Modules for Inspection, Qualification, and Verification of Pressure Vessels

After decades of composite over-wrapped pressure vessel (COPV) development, manufacturing variance is still high, and has necessitated higher safety factors and additional mass to be flown on spacecraft, reducing overall performance. When liners are used in COPVs, they...

Briefs : Materials
In-Situ Formation of Reinforcement Phases in Ultra-High- Temperature Ceramic Composites

Future-generation materials for use on space transportation vehicles require substantial improvements in material properties leading to increased reliability and safety, as well as intelligent design to allow for current materials to meet future needs....

Briefs : Materials
Multi-Phase Ceramic System

Bearing surfaces are typically either metal-on-metal (MOM), ceramic-on-ceramic (COC), or metal-on-polyethylene (MOP). MOM and MOP couplings have the drawback that metallic or polyethylene particles can sometimes separate from the couplings, which can cause significant problems, particularly in a hip or joint...

Briefs : Materials
Minimally Machined HoneySiC Panels and T300 HoneySiC

The primary purpose of this work is to develop and demonstrate technologies to manufacture ultra-low-cost precision optical systems for very large x-ray, UV/optical, or infrared telescopes.

Briefs : Materials
Flexible Volumetric Structure

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed composite elastic skins for covering shape-changing (morphable) structures. These skins are intended especially for use on advanced aircraft that change shapes in order to assume different aerodynamic properties. Examples of aircraft shape changes include growth or...

Briefs : Materials
Aeroplastic Composites

Aeroplastic refers to a family of polymeric composites with properties that provide a significant reduction in heat transfer. These composites reduce the thermal conductivity of the base polymer resin between 20%-50% without changing its mechanical properties or modifying the original techniques for processing those...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
An Apparatus and Method for Communication Over Power Lines

NASA’s Glenn Research Center is offering a sensor and actuator networking innovation applicable to smart vehicle or component control. This innovation requires no additional connectivity beyond the wiring providing power. This results in lower system weight, increased ease and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
A High-Efficiency Power Module

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a microwave power module to power radar, communications, and/or navigation interchangeably. This high-efficiency, all-solid-state microwave power module (MPM) is based on a multi-stage distributed-amplifier design, which is capable of very wideband...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Addendum of Self-Aligned Ion Implant to Design and Processing of SiC High-Temperature Transistors for Durable Operation Above 400 °C

Researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a revolutionary new generation of silicon carbide (SiC) integrated circuit (IC) chips, setting an unprecedented benchmark in the field of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Method and Apparatus to Detect Wire Pathologies Near Crimped Connector

NASA’s Langley Research Center has created a collection of innovations for rapid, precise, and verified crimps. Wiring crimp failures can be a threat to safety and may lead to a loss of critical functions in high-risk applications, such as aerospace. In addition to the...

Briefs : Aerospace
Jet Engine Exhaust Nozzle Flow Effector

NASA’s Langley Research Center has created novel flow effector technology for separation control and enhanced mixing. The technology allows for variable shape control of aircraft structure through actively deformable surfaces. The flow effectors are made by embedding shape memory alloy actuator material...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Structural Joint with Multi-Axis Load Carrying Capacity

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a composite joint connector that is more structurally efficient than joints currently on the market. Traditionally, composite joints can bear heavy loads along their length but tend to fail when stress is applied along multiple axes. This...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Eddy-Current-Minimizing Flow Plug for Use in Flow Conditioning and Flow Metering

Innovators at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a suite of prototype fluid plug technologies with an array of capabilities for fluid flow metering, mixing, and conditioning. Each innovation within this suite is based upon a core technology that...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Process for Forming a High-Temperature Single Crystal Preloader

Friction has long been a thorny problem for sealing-device designers. Traditional sealing devices rely on a contacting relationship between surfaces and sealing elements to prevent fluid leakage, but in the case of moving elements, this contact produces friction that causes wearing...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact Vibration Damper

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a compact tuned damper to reduce vibration occurring at a fixed frequency. Tuned dampers reduce vibration of the base structure by the dissipation of energy. The magnitude of the dissipated energy is proportional to the square of the displacement or velocity of the tuned...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluidic Oscillator Array for Synchronized Oscillating Jet Generation

NASA’s Langley Research Center develops innovative technologies to control fluid flow in ways that will ultimately result in improved performance and fuel efficiency. Often called fluidic oscillators, sweeping jet actuators, or flip flop oscillators, these flow-control...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Magnetostrictive Pressure Regulating System

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a set of unique magnetostrictive (MS) technologies for utilization in pressure regulation and valve systems. By combining MS-based sensors with a newly designed MS-based valve, Marshall has developed an advanced MS regulator. This innovative approach...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Shape Sensing Using a Multi-Core Optical Fiber Having an Arbitrary Initial Shape in the Presence of Extrinsic Forces

NASA’s Langley Research Center has demonstrated a patent-pending method and apparatus for determining the position, in three dimensions, of any point on an optical fiber. The new method uses low-reflectance Fiber Bragg Grating...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Magnetic and Raman-Based Method for Process Control During Fabrication of Carbon-Nanotube-Based Structures

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed an innovative magnetic and Raman-based method for macroscopic process control during fabrication of carbon-nanotube-based structures. The development of super-strong, lightweight materials...

Briefs : Energy
Fully Premixed, Low-Emission, High-Pressure, Multi-Fuel Burner

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed a novel design for a fully premixed, high-pressure burner capable of operating on a variety of gaseous fuels and oxidizers, including hydrogen-air mixtures, with a low pressure drop. The burner provides a rapidly and uniformly mixed...

Briefs : Energy
Selenium Interlayer for High-Efficiency Multi-Junction Solar Cell

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a low-cost, high-efficiency solar cell that uses a thin layer of selenium as the bonding material between wafers. Selenium is a semiconductor, and it is also transparent to light at photon energies below the band gap. The...

Briefs : Aerospace
Tethered Vehicle Control and Tracking System

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed hardware and software to track the flight of tethered vehicles, including kite-like, airborne wind energy (AWE) generation systems. The control system consists of a pan-tilt platform and a visible-spectrum digital camera, combined with tracking control...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Preventing Cell-to-Cell Thermal Runaway in Lithium-Ion Battery Modules

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells are increasingly used in high-voltage and high-capacity modules. The Li-ion chemistry has the highest energy density of all rechargeable battery chemistries, but associated with that energy is the issue of catastrophic thermal runaway with a fire....

Briefs : Software
System and Method for Space Utilization Optimization and Visualization

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a space-allocation and planning software system to allow for more effective and efficient facility usage. It also provides a customizable strategy for organizing personnel and project teams to maximize productivity and synergies...

Briefs : Software
Reducing Sensor and Readout Circuitry Noise in Digital Domain Using Reference Pixels

One of the main heritage tools used in scientific and engineering data spectrum analysis is the Fourier Integral Transform and its high-performance digital equivalent — the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). The Fourier view of nonlinear mechanics that has existed...

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