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
Antimicrobial-Coated Granules for Disinfecting Water

Methods of preparing antimicrobial-coated granules for disinfecting flowing potable water have been developed. Like the methods reported in the immediately preceding article, these methods involve chemical preparation of substrate surfaces (in this case, the surfaces of granules) to enable...

Briefs : Materials
A Model of Reduced Kinetics for Alkane Oxidation Using Constituents and Species for N-Heptane

The reduction of elementary or skeletal oxidation kinetics to a subgroup of tractable reactions for inclusion in turbulent combustion codes has been the subject of numerous studies. The skeletal mechanism is obtained from the elementary mechanism by...

Briefs : Materials
Thermally Conductive Tape Based on Carbon Nanotube Arrays

To increase contact conductance between two mating surfaces, a conductive “tape” has been developed by growing dense arrays of carbon nanotubes (CNTs, graphite layers folded into cylinders) on both sides of a thermally conductive metallic foil. When the two mating surfaces are brought...

Briefs : Materials
Lightweight, Ultra-High-Temperature, CMC-Lined Carbon/Carbon Structures

lished engineering material used extensively in aerospace. The beneficial properties of C/C include high strength, low density, and toughness. Its shortcoming is its limited usability at temperatures higher than the oxidation temperature of carbon — approximately 400 °C....

Briefs : Materials
Two Catalysts for Selective Oxidation of Contaminant Gases

Two catalysts for the selective oxidation of trace amounts of contaminant gases in air have been developed for use aboard the International Space Station. These catalysts might also be useful for reducing concentrations of fumes in terrestrial industrial facilities — especially...

Briefs : Materials
Nanoscale Metal Oxide Semiconductors for Gas Sensing

A report describes the fabrication and testing of nanoscale metal oxide semiconductors (MOSs) for gas and chemical sensing. This document examines the relationship between processing approaches and resulting sensor behavior. This is a core question related to a range of applications of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sample Acquisition and Handling System From a Remote Platform

A system has been developed to acquire and handle samples from a suspended remote platform. The system includes a penetrator, a penetrator deployment mechanism, and a sample handler. A gravity-driven harpoon sampler was used for the system, but other solutions can be used to supply...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Rare-Earth Emitter Hollow Cathode

An improvement has been made to the design of the hollow cathode geometry that was created for the rare-earth electron emitter described in “Compact Rare Earth Emitter Hollow Cathode” (NPO-44923), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 34, No. 3 (March 2010), p. 52. The original interior assembly was made entirely...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Temperature Smart Structures for Engine Noise Reduction and Performance Enhancement

One of key NASA goals is to develop and integrate noise reduction technology to enable unrestricted air transportation service to all communities. One of the technical priorities of this activity has been to account for and reduce noise via...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cryogenic Scan Mechanism for Fourier Transform Spectrometer

A compact and lightweight mechanism has been developed to accurately move a Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS) scan mirror (a cube corner) in a near-linear fashion with near constant speed at cryogenic temperatures.

This innovation includes a slide mechanism to restrict motion to...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectric Rotary Tube Motor

A custom rotary SQUIGGLE® motor has been developed that sets new benchmarks for small motor size, high position resolution, and high torque without gear reduction. Its capabilities cannot be achieved with conventional electromagnetic motors. It consists of piezoelectric plates mounted on a square flexible tube....

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Combustor Computations for CO₂-Neutral Aviation

Knowing the pure component Cp0 or mixture Cp0 as computed by a flexible code such as NIST-STRAPP or McBride-Gordon, one can, within reasonable accuracy, determine the thermophysical properties necessary to predict the combustion characteristics when...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Cycle Time Reduction in Trapped Mercury Ion Atomic Frequency Standards

The use of the mercury ion isotope 201Hg+ was examined for an atomic clock. Taking advantage of the faster optical pumping time in 201Hg+ reduces both the state preparation and the state readout times, thereby decreasing the overall...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Use of Dynamic Distortion to Predict and Alleviate Loss of Control

This research has developed and evaluated the specific concepts, termed “Smart-Cue” and “Smart-Gain,” to alleviate aircraft loss of control that results from unfavorable pilot/vehicle system interactions, including pilot-induced oscillations (PIOs). Unfavorable pilot/...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Crane Brake Release Tool

At the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF), the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) segments are processed after they arrive by rail prior to a Shuttle launch. Using overhead bridge cranes capable of lifting up to 200 tons, the engineers remove the rail cover of the SRB segments, inspect the propellant grain and metal...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Distributed Control of Long Slender Robotic Manipulators

Sample acquisition from small bodies is a key capability needed for proposed comet and asteroid sample return missions. This investigation determines how to utilize shape memory materials (SMMs) in sampling booms that result in improved sampling capability. By training an SMM wire to...

Briefs : Lighting
Nanoengineering for Solid-State Lighting
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

This report summarizes results from a three-year Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project. The collaborative effort of researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and Rensselaer...

Briefs : Energy
Spring Tire
A new tire is made from helical springs, requires no air or rubber, and consumes nearly zero energy. The spring tire provides greater traction in sandy and/or rocky soil, can operate in microgravity and under harsh conditions, and is non-pneumatic.
Briefs : Software
Distributed Aerodynamic Sensing and Processing Toolbox

A Distributed Aerodynamic Sensing and Processing (DASP) toolbox was designed and fabricated for flight test applications with an Aerostructures Test Wing (ATW) mounted under the fuselage of an F-15B on the Flight Test Fixture (FTF). DASP monitors and processes the aerodynamics with the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Network-Capable Application Process and Wireless Intelligent Sensors for ISHM

Intelligent sensor technology and systems are increasingly becoming attractive means to serve as frameworks for intelligent rocket test facilities with embedded intelligent sensor elements, distributed data acquisition elements, and onboard data acquisition elements....

Briefs : Information Technology
Hazard Detection Software for Lunar Landing

The Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) Project is developing a system for safe and precise manned lunar landing that involves novel sensors, but also specific algorithms. ALHAT has selected imaging LIDAR (light detection and ranging) as the sensing modality for onboard hazard...

Briefs : Information Technology
Collaborative Supervised Learning for Sensor Networks

Collaboration methods for distributed machine-learning algorithms involve the specification of communication protocols for the learners, which can query other learners and/or broadcast their findings preemptively. Each learner incorporates information from its neighbors into its own training...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Onboard Nonlinear Engine Sensor and Component Fault Diagnosis and Isolation Scheme

A method detects and isolates in-flight sensor, actuator, and component faults for advanced propulsion systems. In sharp contrast to many conventional methods, which deal with either sensor fault or component fault, but not both, this method considers sensor...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Interface Supports Multiple Broadcast Transceivers for Flight Applications

A wireless avionics interface provides a mechanism for managing multiple broadcast transceivers. This interface isolates the control logic required to support multiple transceivers so that the flight application does not have to manage wireless transceivers. All of the...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
FPGA Sequencer for Radar Altimeter Applications

A sequencer for a radar altimeter provides accurate attitude information for a reliable soft landing of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). This is a field-programmable-gate-array (FPGA)-only implementation. A table loaded externally into the FPGA controls timing, processing, and decision...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
SAD5 Stereo Correlation Line-Striping in an FPGA

High precision SAD5 stereo computations can be performed in an FPGA (field-programmable gate array) at much higher speeds than possible in a conventional CPU (central processing unit), but this uses large amounts of FPGA resources that scale with image size. Of the two key resources in an FPGA,...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Miniature Sapphire Acoustic Resonator — MSAR

A room temperature sapphire acoustics resonator incorporated into an oscillator represents a possible opportunity to improve on quartz ultrastable oscillator (USO) performance, which has been a staple for NASA missions since the inception of spaceflight. Where quartz technology is very mature and...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Process-Hardened, Multi-Analyte Sensor for Characterizing Rocket Plume Constituents

A multi-analyte sensor was developed that enables simultaneous detection of rocket engine combustion-product molecules in a launch-vehicle ground test stand. The sensor was developed using a pin-printing method by incorporating multiple sensor elements on a...

Briefs : Software
Marsviewer 2008

Marsviewer 2008 is designed for quality control, browsing, and operational and science analysis of images and derived image products returned by spacecraft. This program allows all derived products (reduced data records, or RDRs) associated with each original image (experiment data record, or EDR) to be viewed in various ways,...

Briefs : Software
Mission Services Evolution Center Message Bus

The Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center (GMSEC) Message Bus is a robust, lightweight, fault-tolerant middleware implementation that supports all messaging capabilities of the GMSEC API, including publish/subscribe and request/reply. The Message Bus enables NASA to provide an open-source...


Articles: Motion Control

The Modern Industrial Workhorse: PID Controllers

Briefs: Information Technology

Software for Analyzing Root Causes of Process Anomalies

Podcasts: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Here's an Idea: Apollo 11

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Induced-Eddy-Current-Sensor Measurement of Semiconductor Performance

Articles: Photonics/Optics

Nd:YAG or Fiber Laser for Micro Welding?

Articles: Photonics/Optics

Custom Optomechanics in Industrial UV Lasers