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
Mesh Adaptation Module for Cartesian Meshes with Embedded Boundaries

This work extends the mesh generation capability of NASA’s Cart3D flow simulation software package to permit cell-by-cell mesh enrichment. Cart3D allows users to perform automated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis on a complex geometry. It includes utilities for...

Briefs: Imaging
3D Imaging Laser System

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a non-scanning, 3D imaging laser system that uses a simple lens system to simultaneously generate a one-dimensional or two-dimensional array of optical (light) spots to illuminate an object, surface, or image to generate a topographic profile.

NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed an automatic measurement and control method for smart image enhancement. Pilots, doctors, and photographers will benefit from this innovation that...

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed novel neutron grazing incidence optics for use with small-scale portable neutron generators. The technology was...

A new smart camera developed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center has the ability to process and transmit valuable edge location data for the images that it captures — at a...

Scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have successfully developed a novel subcutaneous structure imager for locating...

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed 3D imaging technologies (Flash LIDAR) for real-time terrain mapping and synthetic...

High-performance thermal imagers like Mars Climate Sounder (MCS) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment on the Lunar...

Digital holography is a fast-growing field in optics, recently spurred by the advent of large-format digital cameras and high-speed computers. This method provides a time-series of volumetric...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High Field Superconducting Magnets

This superconducting magnet developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center comprises a superconducting wire wound in adjacent turns about a mandrel to form the superconducting magnet; a thermally...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Distributed Diagnostics and Prognostics

NASA has developed a method that prevents total system failure during emergencies, allowing parts of the system to continue to function, and making overall system recovery faster. A heterogeneous set...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Lens-Coupled Dielectric Waveguides

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has developed a low-loss dielectric waveguide that provides a simple, versatile, and flexible transmission medium. Dielectric waveguides — long, solid pieces of...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Sampling and Control Circuit Board for an Inertial Measurement Unit

Scientists at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a circuit board that serves as a control and sampling interface to an inertial measurement unit (IMU). The circuit board provides sampling and communication abilities that allow the IMU to be sampled at precise...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Efficient Radiation Shielding Through Direct Metal Laser Sintering

Functional and parametric degradation of microcircuits due to total ionizing dose (TID) often poses serious obstacles to deployment of critical state-of-the-art (SOTA) technologies in NASA missions. Moreover, because device dielectrics in which such degradation occurs vary from...

NASA-developed polyimide aerogels are 500 times stronger than conventional silica aerogels. The innovative aerogels represent a revolutionary advance over fragile silica...

Briefs: Materials
Catalytic Oxidation of Organic Contaminants at Reduced Pressure

The current technology for catalytic oxidation of aqueous organic contaminants at elevated temperature and pressure works well at operating conditions of 265 °F and 70 psia with effluent TOCs (total organic carbon) of less than 0.5 ppm. However, it does not perform well at the...

Briefs: Materials
Approach for Achieving Flame Retardancy While Retaining Physical Properties in a Compatible Polymer Matrix

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) seeks to license its Advanced Fire Retardant Materials to industry. KSC’s scientists have developed processes and know-how to impart fire retardancy to common polymers such as nylons, polyesters, and...

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a new technique to enable the preparation of metal/composite hybrid laminates, also known as fiber metal laminates (FML),...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Tension Stiffened and Tendon Actuated Manipulator

NASA’s Langley Research Center is developing a robotic arm with lightweight joints that provide a wide range of motion. The envisioned design provides users with a long reach and numerous...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Lattice Structures Coating Concept for Efficient Thermal Linking Beds

Conventional air revitalization technology for removal of CO2, moisture, and trace organic contaminants usually involves a packed bed of sorbent pellets that can be regenerated using a concept similar to that of pressure swing adsorption (PSA). Additional heat input...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
A Statistically Based Approach to Broadband Liner Design and Assessment

The broadband component of fan noise has grown in relevance with the utilization of increased bypass ratio and advanced fan designs. Thus, while the attenuation of fan tones remains paramount, the ability to simultaneously reduce broadband fan noise levels has become more...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Connection and Repair Techniques for Capillary Tubing in Restrictive Areas and Gas Chromatography Applications

Capillary columns offer challenges in gas chromatography (GC) work due to their small size and fragile nature. Typical repair techniques to join two capillary columns require cumbersome metal fittings. This solution is not applicable in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Latching Piezocomposite Actuator

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a self-latching piezocomposite actuator. The self-latching nature of this invention allows for piezo actuators that do not require constant power draw. Among other applications, the invention is well suited for use in aerodynamic control surfaces and engine...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method

To train astronauts to live and work in the weightless environment on the International Space Station, NASA employs a number of techniques and facilities that simulate microgravity. Engineers at the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluid Harmonic Absorber

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Fluid Structure Coupling (FSC) technology is a highly efficient and passive method to control the way fluids and structures communicate and dictate the behavior of a system. This...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Variable-Aperture Reciprocating Reed Valve

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center engineers have developed a new reed valve for controlling fluid flow back and forth between two chambers. The VARR valve provides two-way flow that is proportional to flow demand. As the pressure gradient builds on one side, the reed valve responds by opening an...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Passive, Integrated, Sublimator-Driven Coldplate

Spacecraft thermal control systems typically perform three key functions — heat acquisition, heat transport, and heat rejection — in addition to those of insulation, heat generation, and heat storage. In a typical pumped fluid-loop spacecraft thermal control system, heat is acquired from...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Strat-X

Experiments in space can be expensive and infrequent, but Earth’s upper atmosphere is accessible via large scientific balloons, and can be used to address many of the same fundamental questions. Scientific balloons are made of a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hydraulic Pressure Distribution System

Human operation in space over long time periods causes bone and muscle deterioration, so there is a need for countermeasures in the form of physical exercises consisting of working against controlled...

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