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.

A class of reconfigurable microwave antennas now undergoing development comprise fairly conventional printed-circuit feed elements and radiating patches integrated with novel...

A compact refrigerator designed specifically for cooling a microwave maser low noise amplifier is capable of removing heat at a continuous rate of 180 mW at a temperature of 2.5 K....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improving Control in a Joule-Thomson Refrigerator

A report discusses a modified design of a Joule-Thomson (JT) refrigerator under development to be incorporated into scientific instrumentation aboard a spacecraft.In most other JT refrigerators (including common household refrigerators), the temperature of the evaporator (the cold stage) is kept...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Temperature, High-Load-Capacity Radial Magnetic Bearing

A radial heteropolar magnetic bearing capable of operating at a temperature as high as 1,000 °F (≈540 °C) has been developed. This is a prototype of bearings for use in gas turbine engines operating at temperatures and speeds much higher than can be withstood by lubricated...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Automated Rapid Prototyping of 3D Ceramic Parts

An automated system of manufacturing equipment produces three-dimensional (3D) ceramic parts specified by computational models of the parts. The system implements an advanced, automated version of a generic rapid-prototyping process in which the fabrication of an object having a possibly complex 3D...

Briefs: Materials
Photocatalytic Coats in Glass Drinking-Water Bottles

According to a proposal, the insides of glass bottles used to store drinking water would be coated with films consisting of or containing TiO2. In the presence of ultraviolet light, these films would help to remove bacteria, viruses, and trace organic contaminants from the water.

A new type of composite material has been proposed for membranes that would constitute the reflective surfaces of planned lightweight, single curvature (e.g., parabolic cylindrical)...

Briefs: Materials
Nickel-Tin Electrode Materials for Nonaqueous Li-Ion Cells

Experimental materials made from mixtures of nickel and tin powders have shown promise for use as the negative electrodes of rechargeable lithium-ion electrochemical power cells. During charging (or discharging) of a lithiumion cell, lithium ions are absorbed into (or desorbed from,...

Briefs: Materials
Patched Off-Axis Bending/Twisting Actuators for Thin Mirrors

Two documents present updates on thin-shell, adjustable, curved mirrors now being developed for use in spaceborne imaging systems. These mirrors at an earlier stage of development were reported in “Nanolaminate Mirrors With Integral Figure-Control Actuators” (NPO-30221), NASA Tech...

Briefs: Medical
Automation of Vapor-Diffusion Growth of Protein Crystals

Some improvements have been made in a system of laboratory equipment developed previously for studying the crystallization of proteins from solution by use of dynamically controlled flows of dry gas. The improvements involve mainly (1) automation of dispensing of liquids for starting...

A miniature optoelectronic instrument has been invented as a nonintrusive means of measuring a velocity gradient proportional to a shear stress in a flow near a wall. The...

A customized quadrupole ion-trap mass spectrometer (QITMS) has been built to satisfy a need for a compact, rugged instrument for measuring small concentrations of hydrogen, helium,...

An apparatus has been developed to implement an improved method of testing flat-plate specimens of thermal-insulation materials for cryogenic application. The method includes testing...

An improved instrument for optical absorption spectroscopy utilizes off-axis paths in an optical cavity in order to increase detection sensitivity while suppressing resonance effects. The...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Gears Based on Carbon Nanotubes

Gears based on carbon nanotubes (see figure) have been proposed as components of an emerging generation of molecular-scale machines and sensors. In comparison with previously proposed nanogears based on...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of Spherical Reflectors in Outer Space

A process is proposed for fabrication of lightweight spherical reflectors in outer space for telescopes, radio antennas, and light collectors that would be operated there. The process would obviate the relatively massive substrates and frames needed to support such reflectors in normal Earth...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Temperature, High-Load-Capacity Radial Magnetic Bearing

A radial heteropolar magnetic bearing capable of operating at a temperature as high as 1,000°F (≈540°C) has been developed. This is a prototype of bearings for use in gas turbine engines operating at temperatures and speeds much higher than can be withstood by lubricated...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Blended Buffet-Load-Alleviation System for Fighter Airplane

The capability of modern fighter airplanes to sustain flight at high angles of attack and/or moderate angles of sideslip often results in immersion of part of such an airplane in unsteady, separated, vortical flow emanating from its forebody or wings. The flows from these surfaces...

An improved design for a capacitive sensing, rocking-mode vibratory microgyroscope is more amenable to mass production, relative to a prior design. Both the improved design and the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fast Laser Shutters With Low Vibratory Disturbances

The figure shows a prototype vacuum-compatible, fast-acting, long-life shutter unit that generates very little vibratory disturbance during switching. This is one of a number of shutters...

Briefs: Software
Generating Animated Displays of Spacecraft Orbits

Tool for Interactive Plotting, Sonification, and 3D Orbit Display (TIPSOD) is a computer program for generating interactive, animated, four-dimensional (space and time) displays of spacecraft orbits.

Briefs: Software
Three-Dimensional Audio Client Library

The Three-Dimensional Audio Client Library (3DAudio library) is a group of software routines written to facilitate development of both stand-alone (audio only) and immersive virtual-reality application programs that utilize three-dimensional audio displays.

Briefs: Software
Single-Command Approach and Instrument Placement by a Robot on a Target

AUTOAPPROACH is a computer program that enables a mobile robot to approach a target autonomously, starting from a distance of as much as 10 m, in response to a single command. AUTOAPPROACH is used in conjunction with (1) software that analyzes images acquired by stereoscopic...

Briefs: Software
APGEN Version 5.0

Activity Plan Generator (APGEN), now at version 5.0, is a computer program that assists in generating an integrated plan of activities for a spacecraft mission that does not oversubscribe spacecraft and ground resources.

Briefs: Software
Training Software in Artificial-Intelligence Computing Techniques

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Toolkit is a computer program for training scientists, engineers, and university students in three soft-computing techniques (fuzzy logic, neural networks, and genetic algorithms) used in artificial-intelligence applications. The program promotes...

Briefs: Software
Diagnosis and Prognosis of Weapon Systems

The Prognostics Framework is a set of software tools with an open architecture that affords a capability to integrate various prognostic software mechanisms and to provide information for operational and battlefield decision-making and logistical planning pertaining to weapon systems. The Prognostics...

Briefs: Software
Predicting Noise From Aircraft Turbine-Engine Combustors

COMBUSTOR and CNOISE are computer codes that predict far-field noise that originates in the combustors of modern aircraft turbine engines — especially modern, low-gaseous-emission engines, the combustors of which sometimes generate several decibels more noise than do the combustors of...

Briefs: Software
Space Physics Data Facility Web Services

The Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF) Web services provides a distributed programming interface to a portion of the SPDF software. (A general description of Web services is available at http://www.w3.org/ and in many current software-engineering texts and articles focused on distributed programming.) The...

Briefs: Software
Parallel Adaptive Mesh Refinement Library

Parallel Adaptive Mesh Refinement Library (PARAMESH) is a package of Fortran 90 subroutines designed to provide a computer programmer with an easy route to extension of (1) a previously written serial code that uses a logically Cartesian structured mesh into (2) a parallel code with adaptive mesh...

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