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
Corrosion-Prevention Capabilities of a Water-Borne, Silicone- Based, Primerless Coating

Comparative tests have been performed to evaluate the corrosion-prevention capabilities of an experimental paint of the type described in "Water-Borne, Silicone-Based, Primerless Paints," NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 26, No. 11 (November 2002), page 30. To...

Briefs : Materials
Sol-Gel Process for Making Pt-Ru Fuel-Cell Catalysts

A sol-gel process has been developed as a superior alternative to a prior process for making platinum-ruthenium alloy catalysts for electro-oxidation of methanol in fuel cells. The starting materials in the prior process are chloride salts of platinum and ruthenium. The process involves...

Briefs : Medical
Chamber for Growing and Observing Fungi

Unlike prior fungus growing apparatuses, this chamber makes it possible to examine a fungus culture without disrupting it. Partly resembling a small picture frame, the chamber includes a metal plate having a rectangular through the thickness opening with recesses for a top and a bottom cover glass, an...

Briefs : Medical
Electroporation System for Sterilizing Water

A prototype of an electroporation system for sterilizing wastewater or drinking water has been developed. In electroporation, applied electric fields cause transient and/or permanent changes in the porosities of living cells. Electroporation at lower field strengths can be exploited to increase the...

Briefs : Software
Data-Acquisition Software for PSP/TSP Wind-Tunnel Cameras

Wing-Viewer is a computer program for acquisition and reduction of image data acquired by any of five different scientific grade commercial electronic cameras used at Langley Research center to observe wind-tunnel models coated with pressure or temperature-sensitive paints (PSP/TSP).

Briefs : Software
Grid Visualization Tool

The Grid Visualization Tool (GVT) is a computer program for displaying the path of a mobile robotic explorer (rover) on a terrain map. The GVT reads a map-data file in either portable graymap (PGM) or portable pixmap (PPM) format, representing a gray-scale or color map image, respectively.

Briefs : Software
Updated Chemical Kinetics and Sensitivity Analysis Code

An updated version of the General Chemical Kinetics and Sensitivity Analysis (LSENS) computer code has become available. A prior version of LSENS was described in “Program Helps to Determine Chemical-Reaction Mechanisms” (LEW-15758), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 19, No. 5 (May 1995), page...

Briefs : Software
Avionics System Architecture Tool

Avionics System Architecture Tool (ASAT) is a computer program intended for use during the avionics-system-architecture- design phase of the process of designing a spacecraft for a specific mission.

Briefs : Software
Predicting Flutter and Forced Response in Turbomachinery

TURBO-AE is a computer code that enables detailed, highfidelity modeling of aeroelastic and unsteady aerodynamic characteristics for prediction of flutter, forced response, and bladerow interaction effects in turbomachinery.

Briefs : Software
Updated Chemical Kinetics and Sensitivity Analysis Code

An updated version of the General Chemical Kinetics and Sensitivity Analysis (LSENS) computer code has become available. A prior version of LSENS was described in "Program Helps to Determine Chemical-Reaction Mechanisms" (LEW-15758), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 19, No. 5 (May 1995), page 66. To...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Modifications of Fabrication of Vibratory Microgyroscopes

A micromachining process for the fabrication of vibratory microgyroscopes from silicon wafers, and aspects of the microgyroscope design that are inextricably linked with the fabrication process, have been modified in an effort to increase production yields from perspectives of both...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Two Heat-Transfer Improvements for Gas Liquefiers

Two improvements in heat-transfer design have been investigated with a view toward increasing the efficiency of refrigerators used to liquefy gases. The improvements could contribute to the development of relatively inexpensive, portable oxygen liquefiers for medical use.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
System Regulates the Water Contents of Fuel-Cell Streams

An assembly of devices provides for both humidification of the reactant gas streams of a fuel cell and removal of the product water (the water generated by operation of the fuel cell). The assembly includes externally-sensing forward-pressure regulators that supply reactant gases (fuel and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Five-Axis, Three-Magnetic-Bearing Dynamic Spin Rig

The Five-Axis, Three-Magnetic-Bearing Dynamic Spin Rig is an apparatus for vibration testing of turbomachine blades in a vacuum at rotational speeds from 0 to 40,000 rpm. This rig (see figure) includes (1) a vertically oriented shaft on which is mounted an assembly comprising a rotor holding the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Optical Design of an Optical Communications Terminal

An optical communications terminal (OCT) is being developed to enable transmission of data at a rate as high as 2.5 Gb/s, from an aircraft or spacecraft to a ground station. In addition to transmitting high data rates, OCT will also be capable of bidirectional communications. The OCT is meant...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Stellar Gyroscope for Determining Attitude of a Spacecraft

A paper introduces the concept of a stellar gyroscope, currently at an early stage of development, for determining the attitude or spin axis, and spin rate of a spacecraft. Like star trackers, which are commercially available, a stellar gyroscope would capture and process images of stars...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Actuated Hybrid Mirror Telescope

The figure depicts the planned Actuated Hybrid Mirror Telescope (AHMT), which is intended to demonstrate a new approach to the design and construction of wide-aperture spaceborne telescopes for astronomy and Earth science. This technology is also appropriate for Earth-based telescopes.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Thermoelectric Air/Soil Energy-Harvesting Device

A proposed thermoelectric device would exploit natural temperature differences between air and soil to harvest small amounts of electric energy. Because the air/soil temperature difference fluctuates between nighttime and daytime, it is almost never zero, and so there is almost always some energy...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
A Broad-Band Phase-Contrast Wave-Front Sensor

A broadband phase-contrast wave-front sensor has been proposed as a real-time wave-front sensor in an adaptive-optics system. The proposed sensor would offer an alternative to the Shack-Hartmann wave-front sensors now used in high order adaptive-optics systems of some astronomical telescopes....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Chemical Sensors Based on Optical Ring

Chemical sensors based on optical ring resonators are undergoing development. A ring resonator according to this concept is a closed-circuit dielectric optical waveguide. The outermost layer of this waveguide, analogous to the optical cladding layer on an optical fiber, is a made of a polymer that (1) has...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Progress in Insect-Inspired Optical Navigation Sensors

Progress has been made in continuing efforts to develop optical flight-control and navigation sensors for miniature robotic aircraft. The designs of these sensors are inspired by the designs and functions of the vision systems and brains of insects. Two types of sensors of particular...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Power Meter Design Minimizes Fiber Power Measurement Inaccuracies

Manufacturers of multiplexers, attenuators, amplifiers, and other fiber-optic components must characterize their products for parameters such as insertion loss and polarization-dependent loss. Insertion loss is usually accomplished by measuring output power variations before and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Infrared Emitter Combines Photonic Crystal Technology With MEMS Manufacturing

In one of the first real-world applications of photonic crystals, two companies partnered to produce a photonic crystal enhanced (PCE) micro-hotplate device with applications in areas from military combat identification to commercial and biomedical gas sensing...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
GaAs QWIP Array Containing More Than a Million Pixels

A 1,024 × 1,024-pixel array of quantumwell infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) has been built on a 1.8 × 1.8-cm GaAs chip. In tests, the array was found to perform well in detecting images at wavelengths from 8 to 9 μm in operation at temperatures between 60 and 70 K. The largest-format QWIP...

Briefs : Information Technology
Algorithm for Identifying Erroneous Rain-Gauge Readings

An algorithm analyzes rain-gauge data to identify statistical outliers that could be deemed to be erroneous readings. Heretofore, analyses of this type have been performed in burdensome manual procedures that have involved subjective judgements. Sometimes, the analyses have included...

Briefs : Software
Solar-System Ephemeris Toolbox

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) generates planetary and lunar ephemeris data and FORTRAN routines that allow users to obtain state data for the Sun, the moon, and the planets. The JPL Solar System Ephemeris Toolbox, developed at Kennedy Space Center, is a set of functions that provides the same functionality...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Flexible Metal-Fabric Radiators

Flexible metal-fabric radiators have been considered as alternative means of dissipating excess heat from spacecraft and space suits. The radiators also may be useful in such special terrestrial applications as rejecting heat from space-suit-like protective suits worn in hot work environments. In addition to...

Briefs : Materials
Engineering the Next Nano Breakthroughs

Nanotechnology breakthroughs are happening every day. NASA Tech Briefs' Nano 2005 nano engineering conference, November 10-11 at the Marriott Boston Newton, will help you keep pace with the engineering and technology innovations behind the latest nano breakthroughs. These technologies have real-world...

Briefs : Software
Upgrades of Two Computer Codes for Analysis of Turbomachinery

Major upgrades have been made in two of the programs reported in "Five Computer Codes for Analysis of Turbomachinery" (LEW-16851), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 23, No. 11 (November 1999), page 28. The affected programs are:

Briefs : Information Technology
Condition Assessment and End-of-Life Prediction System for Electric Machines and Their Loads

An end-of-life prediction system developed for electric machines and their loads could be used in integrated vehicle health monitoring at NASA and in other government agencies. This system will provide on-line, real-time condition assessment and...