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: 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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

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

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

NASA’s Langley Research Center develops innovative technologies to control fluid flow in ways that will ultimately result in improved performance and fuel efficiency....

Briefs: Test & Measurement

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...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

NASA’s Langley Research Center has demonstrated a patent-pending method and apparatus for determining the position, in...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed an innovative magnetic and Raman-based method for macroscopic process control during...

Briefs: Aerospace

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...

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

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...

Briefs: Energy
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

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...

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...

Briefs: Software

NASA has developed a new software tool for optimizing interior layout designs of highly constrained, highly integrated, and/or confined...

Briefs: Software

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed an algorithm, Airborne Wind Profiling Algorithm for Doppler Wind Lidar (APOLO), that offers highly accurate, real-time measurement of...

Briefs: Software

The problem that motivated this work was one of analyzing hundreds of thousands of records of historical problem failure reports (aka, problem reports and corrective actions — PRACA) for improved mission safety....

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Integrated Temperature and Capacitive Ablation Recession Rate Sensors

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed new sensors that can be integrated into thermal protection systems (TPS) to protect them from environmental damage. Radiation, shock, and ablation (erosion of the protective outer surface) combine to damage the TPS...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Innovators at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a highly accurate method for measuring liquid levels using optical fibers. Unlike liquid level gauges currently on the...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Flexible Thin Metal Film Thermal Sensing System

NASA’s Langley Research Center has extensively studied self-metallized polyimide films for aerospace applications. These thin films have shown promise not only as reflective coatings, but also conductive coatings. NASA believes that its technology may offer advantages to sensor companies,...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Piezoresistive Sensor

The present innovation, developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, comprises several piezoresistor sensor configurations for sensing rotation or torque that are superior to those currently in use in microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices. These may be used for sensing rotation/torque or any other quantity that can be...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has a suite of novel technologies for digital control of electronic machinery. NASA developed the technologies for autonomous assembly of modular space structures. The...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Real-Time Radiation Monitoring Using Nanotechnology

NASA has patented a unique chemical sensor array leveraging nano-structures for monitoring the concentration of chemical species or gas molecules that is not damaged when exposed to protons and other high-energy particles over time. The nanotechnology-enabled chemical sensor array uses single...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Real-Time Oil Reservoir Evaluation Using Nanotechnology

This innovation is a method and system for evaluating the status and response of a mineral-producing field (e.g., oil and/or gas) by monitoring selected chemical and physical properties in or adjacent to a well site headspace. Nanotechnology sensors and other sensors are provided for one or...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smartphone Video Guidance Sensor

The need arose to apply the state determination algorithms developed for the Advanced Video Guidance Sensor autonomous rendezvous and docking (AR&D) sensor onto a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), smartphone-based platform to create a lower-mass, lower-cost sensor for small satellite and CubeSat applications....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

The invention is a design for a peripheral component interconnect (PCI) local bus controller and target in a PC/104-Plus form-factor. The design uses a flash-based...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is seeking commercial partners for licensing or further development of a novel high-performance, flexible, low-melt polyimide film with self-healing properties. The self-healing...

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