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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Optimal Flow Control Design

In support of the Blended-Wing-Body aircraft concept, a new flow control hybrid vane/jet design has been developed for use in a boundary-layer-ingesting (BLI) offset inlet in transonic flows. This inlet flow control is designed to minimize the engine fan-face distortion levels and the first five Fourier harmonic half...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Microfabricated Segmented-Involute-Foil Regenerator for Stirling Engines

An involute-foil regenerator was designed, microfabricated, and tested in an oscillating-flow test rig. The concept consists of stacked involute-foil nickel disks (see figure) microfabricated via a lithographic process. Test results yielded a performance of about twice that...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Reducing Seal Adhesion in Low Impact Docking Systems

Silicone elastomers, used in seals for airlocks or other sealing surfaces in space, are sticky in their as-received condition. Because of the sticking, a greater force may be needed to separate the mating surfaces. If the adhesion is sufficiently high, a sudden unpredicted movement of the...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Corrosion-Resistant Container for Molten-Material Processing

In a carbothermal process, gaseous methane is passed over molten regolith, which is heated past its melting point to a temperature in excess of 1,625 °C. At this temperature, materials in contact with the molten regolith (or regolith simulant) corrode and lose their structural...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployment of a Curved Truss

Structures capable of deployment into complex, three-dimensional trusses have well known space technology applications such as the support of spacecraft payloads, communications antennas, radar reflectors, and solar concentrators. Such deployable trusses could also be useful in terrestrial applications such as the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Reusable Hot-Wire Cable Cutter

During the early development stage of balloon deployment systems for missions, nichrome wire cable cutters were often used in place of pyro-actuated cutters. Typically, a nichrome wire is wrapped around a bundle of polymer cables with a low melting point and connected to a relay-actuated electric circuit. The heat...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Volume Airborne Fluids Handling Technologies To Fight Wildfires

NASA recently partnered with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) on a project to examine mission suitability and recommend policies and procedures for the use of very large aerial firefighting aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and DC-10 aerial retardant delivery aircraft. The aircraft...

Briefs : Materials
Fabrication of Lanthanum Telluride 14-1-11 Zintl High-Temperature Thermoelectric Couple

The development of more efficient thermoelectric couple technology capable of operating with high-grade heat sources up to 1,275 K is key to improving the performance of radioisotope theroelectric generators. Lanthanum telluride...

Briefs : Materials
Modeling of Alkane Oxidation Using Constituents and Species

It is currently not possible to perform simulations of turbulent reactive flows due in particular to complex chemistry, which may contain thousands of reactions and hundreds of species. This complex chemistry results in additional differential equations, making the numerical solution of...

Briefs : Materials
A Computer Model for Analyzing Volatile Removal Assembly

A computer model simulates reactional gas/liquid two-phase flow processes in porous media. A typical process is the oxygen/wastewater flow in the Volatile Removal Assembly (VRA) in the Closed Environment Life Support System (CELSS) installed in the International Space Station (ISS). The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Analysis of Nozzle Jet Plume Effects on Sonic Boom Signature

An axisymmetric full Navier-Stokes computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study was conducted to examine nozzle exhaust jet plume effects on the sonic boom signature of a supersonic aircraft. A simplified axisymmetric nozzle geometry, representative of the nozzle on the NASA Dryden NF-15B...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Handheld White Light Interferometer for Measuring Defect Depth in Windows

Accurate quantification of defects (scratches and impacts) is vital to the certification of flight hardware and other critical components. The amount of damage to a particular component contributes to the performance, reliability, and safety of a system, which ultimately...

Briefs : Information Technology
Decomposition Algorithm for Global Reachability on a Time-Varying Graph

A decomposition algorithm has been developed for global reachability analysis on a space-time grid. By exploiting the upper block-triangular structure, the planning problem is decomposed into smaller subproblems, which is much more scalable than the original approach.

Briefs : Information Technology
Autonomous GN&C for Spacecraft Exploration of Comets and Asteroids

A spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control (GN&C) system is needed to enable a spacecraft to descend to a surface, take a sample using a touch-and-go (TAG) sampling approach, and then safely ascend. At the time of this reporting, a flyable GN&C system that can...

Briefs : Information Technology
Efficient Web Services Policy Combination

Large-scale Web security systems usually involve cooperation between domains with non-identical policies. The network management and Web communication software used by the different organizations presents a stumbling block. Many of the tools used by the various divisions do not have the ability to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Using CTX Image Features to Predict HiRISE-Equivalent Rock Density

Methods have been developed to quantitatively assess rock hazards at candidate landing sites with the aid of images from the HiRISE camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. HiRISE is able to resolve rocks as small as 1-m in diameter. Some sites of interest do not have...

Briefs : Information Technology
Inversion Method for Early Detection of ARES-1 Case Breach Failure

A document describes research into the problem of detecting a case breach formation at an early stage of a rocket flight. An inversion algorithm for case breach allocation is proposed and analyzed. It is shown how the case breach can be allocated at an early stage of its...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Use of ILTV Control Laws for LaNCETS Flight Research

A report discusses the Lift and Nozzle Change Effects on Tail Shock (LaNCETS) test to investigate the effects of lift distribution and nozzle-area ratio changes on tail shock strength of an F-15 aircraft. Specific research objectives are to obtain in-flight shock strength for multiple...

Briefs : Information Technology
Evaluating Descent and Ascent Trajectories Near Non-Spherical Bodies

Spacecraft landing on small bodies pass through regions where conventional gravitation formulations using exterior spherical harmonics are inaccurate. An investigation shows that a formulation using interior solid spherical harmonics might be satisfactory. Interior spherical...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process To Produce Iron Nanoparticle Lunar Dust Simulant Composite

A document discusses a method for producing nanophase iron lunar dust composite simulant by heating a mixture of carbon black and current lunar simulant types (mixed oxide including iron oxide) at a high temperature to reduce ionic iron into elemental iron. The product is a...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Sidebands Multiplier

Optical sidebands have been generated with relative frequency tens to hundreds of GHz by using optical sidebands that are generated in a cascade process in high-quality optical resonators with Kerr nonlinearity, such as whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators. For this purpose, the WGM resonator needs to be...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Maximum Likelihood Time-of-Arrival Estimation of Optical Pulses via Photon-Counting Photodetectors

Many optical imaging, ranging, and communications systems rely on the estimation of the arrival time of an optical pulse. Recently, such systems have been increasingly employing photon-counting photodetector technology, which changes the statistics...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Single Spatial-Mode Room-Temperature-Operated 3.0 to 3.4 μm Diode Lasers

Compact, highly efficient, 3.0 to 3.4 μm light emitters are in demand for spectroscopic analysis and identification of chemical substances (including methane and formaldehyde), infrared countermeasures technologies, and development of advanced infrared scene projectors....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Portable Dew Point Mass Spectrometry System for Real-Time Gas and Moisture Analysis

A portable instrument incorporates both mass spectrometry and dew point measurement to provide real-time, quantitative gas measurements of helium, nitrogen, oxygen, argon, and carbon dioxide, along with real-time, quantitative moisture analysis.

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Self-Nulling Beam Combiner Using No External Phase Inverter

A self-nulling beam combiner is proposed that completely eliminates the phase inversion subsystem from the nulling interferometer, and instead uses the intrinsic phase shifts in the beam splitters. Simplifying the flight instrument in this way will be a valuable enhancement of mission...

Briefs : Lighting
LED Lighting for Maintenance and Construction Vehicles

Strobe or rotating beacon-type emergency lighting is a requirement on all Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) maintenance and construction vehicles. There is an effort to replace the standard warning lighting with light-emitting diode (LED)-based lights in order to reduce cost of...

Briefs : Lighting
Demonstration Assessment of LED Freezer Case Lighting
Demonstration Assessment of LED Freezer Case Lighting

This report describes the process and results of a demonstration of solid-state lighting (SSL) technology combined with occupancy sensors in a set of upright grocery store freezer cases....

Demonstration Assessment of LED Freezer Case Lighting
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Nickel-Zinc Battery System Technology

Société de Conseil et de Prospective Scientifique (SCPS), located in Rosny-sous-Bois, France, developed a technology that allows the nickel-zinc battery system to work as close as possible to its theoretical performance, with a long cycle life.

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
On Calculating the Zero-Gravity Surface Figure of a Mirror

An analysis of the classical method of calculating the zero-gravity surface figure of a mirror from surface-figure measurements in the presence of gravity has led to improved understanding of conditions under which the calculations are valid. In this method, one measures the surface...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Fiber-Coupled Planar Light-Wave Circuit for Seed Laser Control in High Spectral Resolution Lidar Systems

Precise laser remote sensing of aerosol extinction and backscatter in the atmosphere requires a high-power, pulsed, frequency doubled Nd:YAG laser that is wavelength-stabilized to a narrow absorption line such as found in iodine vapor. One...