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 : Materials
Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC)

TUFROC has an exposed surface edge design and an appropriate materials combination for a space vehicle that will survive the mechanical stresses induced in the initial ascent, and will subsequently survive the extreme heating and mechanically stressful environment of...

Briefs : Materials
High-Efficiency Tantalum-Based Ceramic Composite Structures

High-efficiency tantalum-based ceramic (HETC) composite structures are suitable for use in thermal protection systems. These composite structures have high-efficiency surfaces (low catalytic efficiency and high-emittance), thereby reducing heat flux to a spacecraft during planetary...

Briefs : Materials
Use of Solvent-Free Conditions/Dry Mixing for Functionalizing Carbon Nanotubes

Two methods have been developed for functionalizing carbon nanotubes in solvent-free conditions. In one method, purified single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and a diazonium salt are added to a metal vial, which is loaded with a stainless steel ball bearing. The...

Briefs : Materials
Synthesis of Novel Copoly(alkyl ether imide)s With Unique Surface Properties

Copoly(alkyl ether imide)s were synthesized for the purposes of tailoring surface chemistry. Alkyl ether oligomers with amine end groups were synthesized from the hydroxyl-terminated species, and subsequently reacted with aromatic dianhydrides and diamines to make the...

Briefs : Materials
Inkjet-Assisted Creation of Self-Healing Layers Between Composite Plies

A self-healing advanced composite system was designed and optimized using minimum self-healing (SH) agent (~0.02%) deposited in microscopically ordered arrays through inkjet printing, to arrest cracks along interfaces between plies (see figure). The approach consisted of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fail-Safe Accumulator for Internal Active Thermal Control Loops

Spacecraft internal active thermal control systems (ATCSs) typically use water or a water mixture as their working fluid. A gas-charged bellows accumulator pressurizes the system and provides liquid inventory control. If only a single internal ATCS loop is used, the accumulator...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rocket Vent Design With Variable Flow Control and Rain Protection

This innovation is a rocket purge vent design that can control and balance flow across multiple vents and across very large gas flow ranges while keeping water or other undesirable gases from entering into the vented space. When changing purge rates, this device adapts to the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Turbo-Brayton Converter for Fission Surface Power Applications

Producing electric power for space applications is challenging. Although short-term missions can use batteries or fuel cells, these sources are not practical for durations longer than one month. Photovoltaics become less attractive as the distance from the Sun increases, and they are...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vibration Ring

Machine vibration often originates with rotating driveline components such as rotors, gears, bearings, and fans. Such vibration is the source of unwanted noise and can be destructive to the machine. The vibration ring is a mechanism that provides an indirect damping effect, and is rigid enough to be mounted within the driveline....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Locomotion of Amorphous Surface Robots

The proposed techniques rely on three principal concepts: (1) controlling the polarity of electromagnets, (2) circulating fluid through a compartmentalized bladder, and (3) expanding and deflating polymers. These designs would allow amorphous robots to move across a surface without conventional wheels or...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluid Disconnect Cooling Technique

The purpose of this innovation is to simulate the space temperature environment onto a fluid disconnect. This environment is to be maintained for a long period of time (48 hours) at a controlled temperature [6 ±2 °F(≈–14.4 ±1.1 °C)] to determine if temperature is causing leakage through the...

Briefs : Medical
HeartBeatID – Heart Electrical Actions as Biometric Indicia

One or more biometric indicia, such as fingerprints, voice prints, retinal scans, and facial features, are often used to identify or authenticate the identity of a user seeking access to a given resource. Cardiac muscle is myogenic and is capable of generating an action potential and...

Briefs : Medical
Cryogenic Grinding for Mechanical Abrasion for Hardy Endospores

A comparative analysis was carried out between an emerging cryogenic grinding method and a conventional wet-chemistry/bead-beating endospore disruption approach. After extensive trial and error, it was determined that a regimen of three cryogenic grinding cycles of 2 minutes each...

Briefs : Medical
Making Mesh Buckypaper Capsules for Transplantation of Cells and Implantation of Medical Devices

The innovation consists of a method for fabricating containers (“biocapsules”) made of biocompatible mesh for holding living cells and tissues, to facilitate transplantation into the body, for a wide range of high-impact medical applications. The...

Briefs : Information Technology
Non-Binary Protograph-Based LDPC Codes for Short Block Lengths

Short block codes are in demand by international space agencies for transmission of command and control data to spacecraft in the uplink channel. Codes that outperform currently used binary codes with the same block lengths and code rates are desirable. A design method constructs...

Briefs : Information Technology
Method Resolves Algebraic Loops While Improving Accuracy and Reducing Runtime

A method has been developed for resolving algebraic loops that occur in closed-loop systems when using MathWorks Simulink modeling and simulation tools. This variable fidelity method improves accuracy and reduces runtime significantly for users of Simulink Coder...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Solar Pumped Fiber Laser for Solar Sail Propulsion and Remote Power Transfer

A new method has been developed to create coherent laser light efficiently with direct optical coupling of the Sun’s energy into the gain medium for multiple uses. New advances in solar cell photovoltaic (PV) technologies have greatly improved their efficiencies,...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
ELID Grinding of Large Aspheres

This work focused on a manufacturing process to produce silicon carbide optical surfaces with low mid-spatial surface errors. Mid-spatial frequency (MSF) and high-spatial frequency (HSF) surface errors in the grinding of fast aspheres are amplified in hard ceramics like silicon carbide due to cyclic tool wear...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Systems and Methods for Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensing

Recently, there is widespread interest in the development of chemical and biochemical sensors based on plasmonic resonance of metallic nanostructures. In the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) for nanometer-sized metallic structures, a resonant oscillation of the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Designing Reliable Robots for Moon Exploration

Equipment for space exploration is almost impossible to test on Earth. Testing is expensive and cannot replicate the conditions of launch, cruise, landing, and travel across a planetary surface. As space exploration shifts to the private sector, Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is taking the lead in...

Briefs : Software
Designing Smaller Magnets for the Large Hadron Collider

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) requires new magnets that are smaller than their predecessors to accommodate new instrumentation. Because of their size, these magnets need to generate a 24 percent stronger magnetic field and the structure must provide for near-zero...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Electrical Calibration Source for Next-Generation Oscilloscope

Keysight Technologies (formerly Agilent Technologies) develops world-leading equipment for solving tough measurement challenges. The company’s Infiniium 90000 Q-Series oscilloscope is the first to reach the 60 GHz barrier, enabling engineers to make measurements on a new generation...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Composite Sports Car Body Design

The use of composites is rapidly growing across many industries, fostering the need for new design, analysis, and optimization technologies. Every industry feels increasing pressure to launch breakthrough products that outperform competitors and meet market needs. For many design applications that require strong,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Simulation and Visualization of Elastodynamics in Time- Evolving Generalized Curvilinear Coordinates

This innovation unifies an earlier innovation and a new solution method based on finite differences to simulate structural dynamic phenomena over time-varying grids in generalized curvilinear coordinates. The methodology is based on physics-based...

Briefs : Information Technology
3D Finite Element Model of Magnetic Mirror and Nano Antenna

A 3D finite element mathematical model has been developed for representing a behavior of a magnetic mirror and nano antenna subject to polarized incident light. This model represents the fourth generation of magnetic mirror with the goal of suppressing the diffraction.

Briefs : Information Technology
Toolbox for Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems (T-MATS)

T-MATS is an open-source Simulink library for use in modeling and simulation of thermodynamic systems. It provides a user friendly graphical MATLAB/Simulink-compatible toolbox along with tools to increase ease of model creation. It also includes a generic nonlinear solver that...

Briefs : Information Technology
Advanced Numerical Tools for Design and Analysis of In-Space Valve and Feed Systems

A high-fidelity numerical simulation software (CRUNCH CFD®) predicts the transient performance of flight valve designs, provides design support by supplementing current empirical rules, and diagnoses system anomalies. Currently, transient analysis of...

Briefs : Software
Method for Visualization of Analog Signals

In this innovation, a method makes use of a new technique for describing analog information based on the roots of polynomial functions of infinite degree. Monotonic analog signals are transformed into characters that are fused into a two-dimensional composite visualization of the generating signal...

Briefs : Software
Time-Multiplexed Pipelined FFT Implementation

A fast Fourier transform (FFT) was developed as part of the Soil-Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) project. The FFT was created on 16-bit data arriving at a rate of 48 MHz to run on a resource-constrained, space-grade field programmable gate array (FPGA).

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Method for Authorizing Critical Effector Commands in a Space-Based Integrated Modular Avionics System

An Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architecture provides a common platform for software partitions with shared processing and input/output (I/O) resources. A key feature of the IMA architecture is I/O partitioning. An IMA system will prevent...