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 : Physical Sciences
Determining Aliasing in Isolated Signal Conditioning Modules

Within a digital world, the parameters of real-world information (temperature, voltage, current, speed, flow, pressure, distance, etc.) used for process communications and control are analog in nature. Processing this information is achieved primarily using digital signal processing...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Apparatus for Screening Multiple Oxygen-Reduction Catalysts

An apparatus that includes an array of multiple electrodes has been invented as a means of simultaneously testing multiple materials for their utility as oxygen-reduction catalysts in fuel cells. The apparatus ensures comparability of test results by exposing all the catalyst-material...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Spectrum Analyzers Incorporating Tunable WGM Resonators

A photonic instrument is proposed to boost the resolution for ultraviolet/optical/infrared spectral analysis and spectral imaging allowing the detection of narrow (0.00007-to-0.07-picometer wavelength resolution range) optical spectral signatures of chemical elements in space and planetary...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Composite Bipolar Plate for Unitized Fuel Cell/Electrolyzer Systems

In a substantial improvement over present alkaline systems, an advanced hybrid bipolar plate for a unitized fuel cell/ electrolyzer has been developed. This design, which operates on pure feed streams (H2/O2 and water, respectively) consists of a porous...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Quantum-Well Thermophotovoltaic Cells

Thermophotovoltaic cells containing multiple quantum wells have been invented as improved means of conversion of thermal to electrical energy. The semiconductor bandgaps of the quantum wells can be tailored to be narrower than those of prior thermophotovoltaic cells, thereby enabling the cells to convert...

Briefs : Information Technology
Bounded-Angle Iterative Decoding of LDPC Codes

Bounded-angle iterative decoding is a modified version of conventional iterative decoding, conceived as a means of reducing undetected- error rates for short low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes. For a given code, bounded- angle iterative decoding can be implemented by means of a simple...

Briefs : Information Technology
Conversion From Tree to Graph Representation of Requirements

A procedure and software to implement the procedure have been devised to enable conversion from a tree representation to a graph representation of the requirements governing the development and design of an engineering system. The need for this procedure and software and for other...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Parallel Hybrid Vehicle Optimal Storage System

A paper reports the results of a Hybrid Diesel Vehicle Project focused on a parallel hybrid configuration suitable for diesel-powered, medium-sized, commercial vehicles commonly used for parcel delivery and shuttle buses, as the missions of these types of vehicles require frequent stops. During...

Briefs : Medical
Anaerobic Digestion in a Flooded Densified Leachbed

A document discusses the adaptation of a patented biomass-digesting process, denoted sequential batch anaerobic composting (SEBAC), to recycling of wastes aboard a spacecraft. In SEBAC, high-solids-content biomass wastes are converted into methane, carbon dioxide, and compost.

Briefs : Energy
Quantum-Well Thermophotovoltaic Cells

Thermophotovoltaic cells containing multiple quantum wells have been invented as improved means of conversion of thermal to electrical energy. These cells are expected to be especially useful for extracting electrical energy from combustion, waste-heat, and nuclear sources. Conversion efficiencies more than...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improved Instrument for Detecting Water and Ice in Soil

An instrument measures electrical properties of relatively dry soils to determine their liquid water and/or ice contents. Designed as a prototype of instruments for measuring the liquid-water and ice contents of lunar and planetary soils, the apparatus could also be utilized for similar...

Briefs : Information Technology
Determining Surface Roughness in Urban Areas Using Lidar Data

An automated procedure has been developed to derive relevant factors, which can increase the ability to produce objective, repeatable methods for determining aerodynamic surface roughness. Aerodynamic surface roughness is used for many applications, like atmospheric dispersive models...

Briefs : Software
DSN Data Visualization Suite

The DSN Data Visualization Suite is a set of computer programs and reusable Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that assist in the visualization and analysis of Deep Space Network (DSN) spacecraft-tracking data, which can include predicted and actual values of downlink frequencies, uplink frequencies, and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Real-Time Detection of Dust Devils From Pressure Readings

A method for real-time detection of dust devils at a given location is based on identifying the abrupt, temporary decreases in atmospheric pressure that are characteristic of dust devils as they travel through that location. The method was conceived for use in a study of dust devils on...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hamming and Accumulator Codes Concatenated With MPSK or QAM

In a proposed coding-and-modulation scheme, a high-rate binary data stream would be processed as follows:

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hardware Implementation of Serially Concatenated PPM Decoder

A prototype decoder for a serially concatenated pulse position modulation (SCPPM) code has been implemented in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). At the time of this reporting, this is the first known hardware SCPPM decoder. The SCPPM coding scheme, conceived for free-space...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Biasable Subharmonic Membrane Mixer for 520 to 600 GHz

The figure shows a biasable subharmonic mixer designed to operate in the frequency range from 520 to 600 GHz. This mixer is a prototype of low-power mixers needed for development of wide-band, high-resolution spectrometers for measuring spectra of molecules in the atmospheres of Earth, other...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wide-Angle-Scanning Reflectarray Antennas Actuated by MEMS

An effort to develop large-aperture, wide-angle-scanning reflectarray antennas for microwave radar and communication systems is underway. In an antenna of this type as envisioned, scanning of the radiated or incident microwave beam would be effected through mechanical rotation of the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Presentation Extensions of the SOAP

A set of extensions of the Satellite Orbit Analysis Program (SOAP) enables simultaneous and/or sequential presentation of information from multiple sources. SOAP is used in the aerospace community as a means of collaborative visualization and analysis of data on planned spacecraft missions. The following...

Briefs : Software
Symbolic Processing Combined With Model-Based Reasoning

A computer program for the detection of present and prediction of future discrete states of a complex, real-time engineering system utilizes a combination of symbolic processing and numerical model-based reasoning. One of the biggest weaknesses of a purely symbolic approach is that it...

Briefs : Software
Spreadsheets for Analyzing and Optimizing Space Missions

XCALIBR (XML Capability Analysis LIBRary) is a set of Extensible Markup Language (XML) database and spreadsheet-based analysis software tools designed to assist in technology-return-on-investment analysis and optimization of technology portfolios pertaining to outer- space missions....

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Alternative Packaging for Back-Illuminated Imagers

An alternative scheme has been conceived for packaging of silicon- based back-illuminated, back- side-thinned complementary metal oxide/semiconductor (CMOS) and charge-coupled-device image-detector integrated circuits, including an associated fabrication process. This scheme and process are...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Diamond Machining of an Off-Axis Biconic Aspherical Mirror

Two diamond-machining methods have been developed as part of an effort to design and fabricate an off-axis, biconic ellipsoidal, concave aluminum mirror for an infrared spectrometer at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. Beyond this initial application, the methods can be expected to...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Laser Ablation Increases PEM/Catalyst Interfacial Area

An investigational method of improving the performance of a fuel cell that contains a polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) is based on the concept of roughening the surface of the PEM, prior to deposition of a thin layer of catalyst, in order to increase the PEM/catalyst interfacial area and...

Briefs : Materials
Polyimide/Glass Composite High-Temperature Insulation

Lightweight composites of RP46 polyimide and glass fibers have been found to be useful as extraordinarily fire-resistant electrical-insulation materials. RP46 is a polyimide of the polymerization of monomeric reactants (PMR) type, developed by NASA Langley Research Center. RP46 has properties...

Briefs : Materials
Damage Detection and Self-Repair in Inflatable/Deployable Structures

Inflatable/deployable structures are under consideration for applications as varied as expansion modules for the International Space Station to destinations for space tourism to habitats for the lunar surface. Monitoring and maintaining the integrity of the physical structure...

Briefs : Materials
Nanocomposite Strain Gauges Having Small TCRs

Ceramic strain gauges in which the strain-sensitive electrically conductive strips made from nanocomposites of noble metal and indium tin oxide (ITO) are being developed for use in gas turbine engines and other power-generation systems in which gas temperatures can exceed 1,500°F (about 816°C). In...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Quick-Connect Windowed Non-Stick Penetrator Tips for Rapid Sampling

Standard penetrator sampling systems were designed in order to allow for sampling via penetrators to produce a full set of sample acquisitions including volatile liquids, fine powders, and solid fragments. A gravity harpoon sampler has been designed with a removable tip and a...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Prediction of B-Pillar Failure in Automobile Bodies

The B-pillar is an important load-carrying component of any automobile body. It is a primary support structure for the roof, and is typically a thin-walled, spot-welded, closed-section structure made from high-strength steels. As part of the validation process, the B-pillar can be...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Modeling Unsteady Cavitation and Dynamic Loads in Turbopumps

A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model that includes representations of effects of unsteady cavitation and associated dynamic loads has been developed to increase the accuracy of simulations of the performances of turbopumps. Although the model was originally intended to serve as a...

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Medical

Ethylene Oxide Sterilization: The Future State

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

From Drudgery to the Effective Use of Design and Process FMEAs

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Heavy-Duty Engine Design for a Transitioning Market

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...