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: Software
Robust Mesh Update Method for Grid Motion Problems

Over the past several decades, one class of problems in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) that has undergone substantial development involves movement of the fluid domain boundary. The problem class exists when the fluid domain boundary is either explicitly time-dependent, or is known a priori...

A system of nozzles and pylons that redistributes jet exhaust noise sources upstream to reduce jet noise has been developed. Certain aircraft configurations install the propulsion...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plasma-Assisted Catalytic Reverse Water Gas Shift Reactor

For improving CO2 conversions for a low-temperature CO2 methanation process, a mechanism of using reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reaction as an intermediate step to generate the more reactive CO species for the methanation process was developed. The challenge was to...

Briefs: Materials
Customizable Recyclable Launch Packaging

NASA is developing a sustainable in-space manufacturing ecosystem by providing both the capability to create 3D printer filament from currently used packaging material as well as the development of new, high-performance packaging architectures created with materials that are well suited for use in 3D...

Briefs: Materials
Self-Lubricating Hard Coatings for Extreme Environments

NASA’ s space goals include a permanent presence on the Moon and an expedition to Mars. The success of habitats and vehicles on the Moon and Mars — and ultimately, of the human exploration of and permanent human presence on the Moon and Mars — is critically dependent on the correct...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Folding-Tube Deployable Solar Array

Future space missions incorporating solar electric propulsion (SEP) will require large solar arrays that are an order of magnitude larger than the current state of the art for deployable arrays. This...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Polymeric Thermal History Sensor

Items such as food and pharmaceuticals exposed over time to temperatures outside the specified range can pose a serious health risk. Determining the heat exposure history of these items is a key step in addressing these issues. In particular, there is a need for determining when an item has been exposed to...

Briefs: Software
An Upwind Parabolized Navier-Stokes Solver (UPS) for Supersonic and Hypersonic Flow Simulation, Version 6.1

The simulation of high-speed flow involves unique challenges such as the treatment of strong flow gradients associated with shock waves and expansion fans, as well as the modeling, at hypersonic speeds, of air chemistry effects. However,...

Briefs: Aerospace
Multi-Fidelity Simulator (MFS)

Many next-generation air traffic algorithms may be formed by learning algorithms or dynamic programming techniques. These techniques form their solutions through iterative methods where the efficacy of a proposed solution needs to be evaluated for every round of iteration. In complex air traffic scenarios, often...

Researchers at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) recently completed a study of the feasibility of aerial towing an unpiloted, sub-scale vehicle to supersonic flight conditions to examine...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vented Launch Vehicle Adapter for a Manned Spacecraft With “Pusher” Launch Abort System

A Launch Vehicle Adapter (LVA) was developed that provides a structural interface between a Commercial Crew Vehicle (CCV) Crew Module/Service Module Spacecraft (CM/SM) and an expendable launch vehicle. It also provides a means to control the exhaust plume...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Delayed Latching Mechanism

Uncontrolled and rapid movement of equipment and people through security gates has been a major problem for security personnel. In situations pertaining to facility security, it is desirable to delay the passage of...

Briefs: Software
Efficient Two-Dimensional Solution Methods for the Navier-Stokes Equations

ARC2D is a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program for two-dimensional airfoil and simply connected geometries. The program uses implicit finite-difference techniques to solve two-dimensional Euler equations and Navier-Stokes equations. It is based on the Beam and...

The scanning tunneling microscope (STM) has become one of the most powerful tools used in studying the surface structure of electrically conducting solid-state materials at an...

Briefs: Software
Using SysML to Model Layered System Interfaces

To produce accurate system architecture descriptions, it is essential to be able to describe interfaces between system elements at different levels of abstraction and from different perspectives at the same time. For example, the connection from system A to system B may be viewed at a high level as...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multifunctional Hot Structure (HOST) Heat Shield

Traditional heat shield design isolates the functions of the thermal protection system (TPS) from the underlying load-carrying structure. This is due to the use of brittle TPS material that...

Briefs: Software
Pegasus 5.2 Software for Automated Pre-Processing of Overset CFD Grids

Pegasus software is used as a pre-processor for overset-grid Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. It provides the hole-cutting and connectivity information between structured overset grids. The main features of the software include automated hole-cutting...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Fast, Sensitive Hydrogen Sensor

Hydrogen is a promising potential fuel for cars, buses, and other vehicles, and can be converted into electricity in fuel cells. It already is used in medicine and space exploration, as well as in the...

Electrical circuits such as printed wiring boards or hybrid microcircuits designed to utilize surface mount electrical components are commonly assembled by computer-controlled automated...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vibration-Dampening Pedestal for MEMS

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are critical devices for various highly sensitive applications; however, the development and potential fielding of these next-generation smart systems is currently...

Briefs: Materials
Self-Healing, Self-Lubricating Tribofilm

Tribologists have developed a diamond-like film that is generated by the heat and pressure of an automotive engine. The ultra-durable, self-lubricating tribofilm — a film that forms between moving surfaces — can be made to develop self-healing, diamondlike carbon (DLC) tribofilms. The film generates...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Fiber-Optic Environmental Radiation Dosimeter

An all-optical, fiber-optic-coupled remote radiation sensor was developed using luminescent, copper-doped quartz material. The key to the technology is the doped quartz material, which produces a luminescence signal that is directly proportional to the radiation dose.

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a functionally graded metal-metal composite structure. The structure is created using a method that avoids deleterious reactions between the...

Tuned mass dampers are used worldwide to mitigate vibrations in structures like buildings and bridges where excessive movement can be alarming or even sickening to occupants. The...

Today's water distribution systems lose an average of 20 percent of their supply because of leaks. Current leak-detection systems are expensive and slow to operate, and they don't work well in systems...

Large amounts of existing space debris pose a threat to satellites, space vehicles, and astronauts aboard those vehicles. However, cleaning up the debris is problematic. For example, suction cups don't...

Replacing rigid joints and linkages with mechanisms that bend offers a number of potential advantages, even as it makes designing devices more difficult. A computational design tool...

A lightweight module for rapid, accurate, and versatile positioning of semiconductor chips features a novel electromechanical actuator that can move objects both linearly and...

Folding robots based on origami have emerged as an exciting new frontier of robotic design. However, they generally require onboard batteries or a wired connection to a power source, making them...

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