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 : Communications
Orbiter Interface Unit and Early Communication System

A report describes the Orbiter Interface Unit (OIU) and the Early Communication System (ECOMM), which are systems of electronic hardware and software that serve as the primary communication links for the International Space Station (ISS). When a space shuttle is at or near the ISS during...

Briefs : Motion Control
Arc-Second Pointer for Balloon-Borne Astronomical Instrument
Arc-Second Pointer for Balloon-Borne Astronomical Instrument

A control system has been designed to keep a balloon-borne scientific instrument pointed toward a celestial object within an angular error of the order of an arc second. The design...

Arc-Second Pointer for Balloon-Borne Astronomical Instrument
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Microwave/Sonic Apparatus Measures Flow and Density in Pipe
Microwave/Sonic Apparatus Measures Flow and Density in Pipe

An apparatus for measuring the rate of flow and the mass density of a liquid or slurry includes a special section of pipe instrumented with microwave and sonic sensors, and a...

Microwave/Sonic Apparatus Measures Flow and Density in Pipe
Briefs : Physical Sciences
White-Light Nulling Interferometers for Detecting Planets

A report proposes the development of a white-light nulling interferometer to be used in conjunction with a single-aperture astronomical telescope that would be operated in outer space. When such a telescope is aimed at a given star, the interferometer would suppress the light of that star...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Making Precise Resonators for Mesoscale Vibratory Gyroscopes

An alternative approach to the design and fabrication of vibratory gyroscopes is founded on the use of fabrication techniques that yield best results in the mesoscopic size range, which is characterized by overall device dimensions of the order of a centimeter. This approach stands in...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Airplane Ice Detector Based on a Microwave Transmission Line
Airplane Ice Detector Based on a Microwave Transmission Line

An electronic instrument that could detect the potentially dangerous buildup of ice on an airplane wing is undergoing development. The instrument is based on a microwave...

Airplane Ice Detector Based on a Microwave Transmission Line
Briefs : Motion Control
Exhaust Nozzle for a Multitube Detonative Combustion Engine
Exhaust Nozzle for a Multitube Detonative Combustion Engine

An improved type of exhaust nozzle has been invented to help optimize the performances of multitube detonative combustion engines. The invention is applicable to both air-breathing...

Exhaust Nozzle for a Multitube Detonative Combustion Engine
Briefs : Software
Development of Methodology for Programming Autonomous Agents

A brief report discusses the rationale for, and the development of, a methodology for generating computer code for autonomous-agent-based systems. The methodology is characterized as enabling an increase in the reusability of the generated code among and within such systems, thereby...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Measurement of an Evaporating Drop on a Reflective Substrate

The figure depicts an apparatus that simultaneously records magnified ordinary top-view video images and laser shadowgraph video images of a sessile drop on a flat, horizontal substrate that can be opaque or translucent and is at least partially specularly reflective. A similar...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Reducing Errors by Use of Redundancy in Gravity Measurements

A methodology for improving gravity-gradient measurement data exploits the constraints imposed upon the components of the gravity-gradient tensor by the conditions of integrability needed for reconstruction of the gravitational potential. These constraints are derived from the basic...

Briefs : Medical
FEA Software Enables Study of Tissue Ablation Dynamics

Regulatory agencies such as the US FDA must examine new medical devices to ensure that they are safe and effective. Sometimes, devices work successfully despite the fact that the mechanism of how they work isn't fully understood. In these cases, the FDA performs basic research to fill in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Scalable Architecture for Multihop Wireless ad Hoc Networks

A scalable architecture for wireless digital data and voice communications via ad hoc networks has been proposed. Although the details of the architecture and of its implementation in hardware and software have yet to be developed, the broad outlines of the architecture are fairly...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved Thermoplastic/Iron-Particle Transformer Cores

A method of fabricating improved transformer cores from composites of thermoplastic matrices and iron-particles has been invented. Relative to commercially available laminated-iron-alloy transformer cores, the cores fabricated by this method weigh less and are less expensive. Relative to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cooperative Lander-Surface/Aerial Microflyer Missions for Mars Exploration

Concepts are being investigated for exploratory missions to Mars based on "Bioinspired Engineering of Exploration Systems" (BEES), which is a guiding principle of this effort to develop biomorphic explorers. The novelty lies in the use of a robust telecom architecture for...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Reduction of Phase Ambiguity in an Offset-QPSK Receiver

Proposed modifications of an offset quadri-phase-shift keying (offset- QPSK) transmitter and receiver would reduce the amount of signal processing that must be done in the receiver to resolve the QPSK fourfold phase ambiguity. Resolution of the phase ambiguity is necessary in order to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Eight-Channel Continuous Timer

A custom laboratory electronic timer circuit measures the durations of successive cycles of nominally highly stable input clock signals in as many as eight channels, for the purpose of statistically quantifying the small instabilities of these signals. The measurement data generated by this timer are sent to a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Radar for Monitoring Hurricanes From Geostationary Orbit

A document describes a scanning Doppler radar system to be placed in a geostationary orbit for monitoring the three-dimensional structures of hurricanes, cyclones, and severe storms in general. The system would operate at a frequency of 35 GHz. It would include a large deployable spherical...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Time-Transfer System for Two Orbiting Spacecraft

A report describes the time-transfer system of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), in which information on the distribution of Earth mass is extracted from position and time measurements for two spacecraft about 200 km apart in a circular, nearly polar orbit. Each spacecraft...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Calculating Mass Diffusion in High-Pressure Binary Fluids

A comprehensive mathematical model of mass diffusion has been developed for binary fluids at high pressures, including critical and supercritical pressures. Heretofore, diverse expressions, valid for limited parameter ranges, have been used to correlate high-pressure binary mass-...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Current Pulses Momentarily Enhance Thermoelectric Cooling

The rates of cooling afforded by thermoelectric (Peltier) devices can be increased for short times by applying pulses of electric current greater than the currents that yield maximum steady-state cooling. It has been proposed to utilize such momentary enhancements of cooling in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improved Cryostat for Cooling a Wide Panel

An improved cryostat has been developed for cooling a wide panel evenly over its surface to a temperature of -423 °F (≈-253 °C) by use of liquid helium. Originally, the cryostat was to be used in measuring apparent strains in wide aluminum/ lithium panels as functions of temperature in order to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Making the Monte Carlo Approach Easier and Faster

Originally introduced by Nicholas Metropolis during the Manhattan Project, Monte Carlo methods today have very broad and extensive use in various areas of science and technology. Random number generators (RNGs) are a core part of any Monte Carlo method, having a significant impact on the overall...

Briefs : Information Technology
Higher-Order Finite Elements for Computing Thermal Radiation

Two variants of the finite-element method have been developed for use in computational simulations of radiative transfers of heat among diffuse gray surfaces. Both variants involve the use of higher-order finite elements, across which temperatures and radiative quantities are assumed...

Briefs : Information Technology
Automation of Design Engineering Processes

A method, and a computer program that helps to implement the method, have been developed to automate and systematize the retention and retrieval of all the written records generated during the process of designing a complex engineering system. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that “all the...

Briefs : Materials
Curing Composite Materials Using Lower-Energy Electron Beams

In an improved method of fabricating composite-material structures by laying up prepreg tapes (tapes of fiber reinforcement impregnated by uncured matrix materials) and then curing them, one cures the layups by use of beams of electrons having kinetic energies in the range of 200 to...

Briefs : Materials
Aluminum-Alloy-Matrix/Alumina-Reinforcement Composites

Isotropic composites of aluminum alloy matrices reinforced with particulate alumina have been developed as lightweight, high-specific-strength, less expensive alternatives to nickel-base and ferrous superalloys. These composites feature a specific gravity of about 3.45 g/cm3 and specific...

Briefs : Materials
Fibrous-Ceramic/Aerogel Composite Insulating Tiles

Fibrous-ceramic/aerogel composite tiles have been invented to afford combinations of thermal-insulation and mechanical properties superior to those attainable by making tiles of fibrous ceramics alone or aerogels alone. These lightweight tiles can be tailored to a variety of applications that...

Briefs : Materials
Urethane/Silicone Adhesives for Bonding Flexing Metal Parts

Adhesives that are blends of commercially available urethane and silicone adhesives have been found to be useful for bonding metal parts that flex somewhat during use. These urethane/silicone adhesives are formulated for the specific metal parts to be bonded. The bonds formed by these...

Briefs : Software
Windows®-Based Software Models Cyclic Oxidation Behavior

Oxidation of high-temperature aerospace materials is a universal issue for combustion-path components in turbine or rocket engines. In addition to the question of the consumption of material due to growth of protective scale at use temperatures, there is also the question of cyclic...

Briefs : Software
Software for Analyzing Sequences of Flow-Related Images

Spotlight is a computer program for analysis of sequences of images generated in combustion and fluid physics experiments. Spotlight can perform analysis of a single image in an interactive mode or a sequence of images in an automated fashion. The primary type of analysis is tracking of...

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

A Deep Dive into Metal 3D Printing

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Solving Complex Measurement Problems with PXI

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

NASA Discusses Advances in Photonics for Space and Commercial...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Using Portable Scenarios and Coverage Metrics to Ensure...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Impact of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles in New Product...

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Autonomous Vehicles Sensors: How to Ensure They Work Well and...