Tech Briefs

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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: Test & Measurement

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...

Briefs: Motion Control

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...

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

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...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

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...

Briefs: Medical

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...

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

Concepts are being investigated for exploratory missions to Mars based on "Bioinspired Engineering of Exploration Systems" (BEES), which is a guiding principle of...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

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...

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

A comprehensive mathematical model of mass diffusion has been developed for binary fluids at high pressures, including critical and supercritical pressures. Heretofore, diverse...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

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...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

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...

Briefs: Information Technology

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...

Briefs: Information Technology

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...

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 tiles have been invented to afford combinations of thermal-insulation and mechanical properties superior to those attainable by making tiles of fibrous...

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...

Briefs: Information Technology
Increasing Accuracy in Computed Inviscid Boundary Conditions

A technique has been devised to increase the accuracy of computational simulations of flows of inviscid fluids by increasing the accuracy with which surface boundary conditions are represented. This technique is expected to be especially beneficial for computational aeroacoustics,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

In response to a growing industry trend toward corrosion- and maintenance-free natural-gas valves, Kerotest designed POLYBALL™™ 1/2" to 12" standard- and full-port...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

A low-temperature plasma process has been devised for attaching specified molecular groups to carbon nanotubes in order to impart desired chemical and/or physical properties to the...

Briefs: Energy
Lightweight, Flexible, Thin, Integrated Solar-Power Packs

Lightweight, flexible, thin, one-piece, solar-power packs are undergoing development. Each power pack of this type is a complete, modular, integrated power-supply system comprising three power subsystems that, in conventional practice, have been constructed as separate units and connected...

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Briefs: Aerospace

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NASA Spinoff: Materials

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INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control

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Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Sensing Hazardous Gases Can Save Lives

INSIDER: Semiconductors & ICs

Smaller, Cheaper, and More Dynamic Computer Chips

INSIDER: Motion Control

Non-Contact Tip/Tilt Sensor

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