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
Burn-Resistant, Strong Metal-Matrix Composites

Ceramic particulate fillers increase the specific strengths and burn resistances of metals: This is the conclusion drawn by researchers at Johnson Space Center's White Sands Test Facility. The researchers had theorized that the inclusion of ceramic particles in metal tools and other metal objects...

An experimental investigation has shown that by (1) vacuum plasma spraying (VPS) of suitable refractory metal alloys on graphite mandrels, and then (2) heat-treating the VPS alloy...

Briefs: Materials
Antistatic Polycarbonate/Copper Oxide Composite

A composite material consisting of polycarbonate filled with copper oxide has been found to be suitable as an antistatic material. This material was developed to satisfy a requirement for an antistatic material that has a mass density less than that of aluminum and that exhibits an acceptably low...

Briefs: Materials
Stable, Thermally Conductive Fillers for Bolted Joints

A commercial structural epoxy [Super Koropon (or equivalent)] has been found to be a suitable filler material for bolted joints that are required to have large thermal conductances. The contact area of such a joint can be less than 1 percent of the apparent joint area, the exact value...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Deployable Spring-Strip Booms

Booms and other structures consisting mainly of thin spring strips are undergoing development. These structures are designed to be lightweight, to be compactly stowable, and to be capable of springing to...

Figure 1 depicts some aspects of an apparatus and method for automated serial sectioning of a specimen of a solder, aluminum, or other relatively soft opaque material. The apparatus includes...

Briefs: Software
Time Analyzer For Time Synchronization and Monitor of the Deep Space Network

A software package has been developed to measure, monitor, and archive the performance of timing signals distributed in the NASA Deep Space Network. Timing signals are generated from a central master clock and distributed to over 100 users at distances up to 30...

Briefs: Software
Program for Computing Albedo

Simple Thermal Environment Model (STEM) is a FORTRAN-based computer program that provides engineering estimates of top-of-atmosphere albedo and outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) for use in analyzing thermal loads on spacecraft near Earth. The thermal environment of a spacecraft is represented in STEM as consisting...

Briefs: Software
Integrated Software for Analyzing Designs of Launch Vehicles

Launch Vehicle Analysis Tool (LVA) is a computer program for preliminary design structural analysis of launch vehicles. Before LVA was developed, in order to analyze the structure of a launch vehicle, it was necessary to estimate its weight, feed this estimate into a program to obtain...

Briefs: Software
Abstract-Reasoning Software for Coordinating Multiple Agents

A computer program for scheduling the activities of multiple agents that share limited resources has been incorporated into the Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) software system, aspects of which have been reported in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles. In...

Briefs: Software
Software Searches for Better Spacecraft-Navigation Models

ADAPT is a computer program that searches for better mathematical models for spacecraft navigation. The task of tuning trajectory-determination models for interplanetary navigation is complex, requiring an intensive search of multiple dynamical and nondynamical models that yield...

Briefs: Software
Software for Partly Automated Recognition of Targets

The Feature Analyst is a computer program for assisted (partially automated) recognition of targets in images.

This program was developed to accelerate the processing of high-resolution satellite image data for incorporation into geographic information systems (GIS). This program creates an...

Energy savings is one of the key ingredients in reducing costs for any manufacturing operation. A simple, but very effective, way to save energy is by making fans run more...

An electronic system that performs real-time analysis of the low-amplitude, high-frequency, ordinarily invisible components of the QRS portion of an electrocardiographic signal in real time...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Radio System for Locating Emergency Workers

A system based on low-power radio transponders and associated analog and digital electronic circuitry has been developed for locating firefighters and other emergency workers deployed in a building or other structure. The system has obvious potential for saving lives and reducing the risk of...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Capacitor-Chain Successive-Approximation ADC

A proposed successive approximation analog-to-digital converter (ADC) would contain a capacitively terminated chain of identical capacitor cells (see figure). Like a conventional successive...

A reduced-complexity alternative to an optimum FQPSK-B Viterbi receiver has been invented. As described below, the reduction in complexity is achieved at the cost of only a small...

A multilayer patch antenna, similar to a Yagi antenna, surrounded by a metallic wall has been devised to satisfy requirements to fit within a specified size and shape and to generate a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Analysis of Designs of Space Laboratories

A report presents a review of the development of laboratories in outer space, starting from the pioneering Skylab and Salyut stations of the United States and the former Soviet Union and progressing through current and anticipated future developments. The report includes textual discussions of...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Relatively Inexpensive Rapid Prototyping of Small Parts

Parts with complex three-dimensional shapes and with dimensions up to 8 by 8 by 10 in. (20.3 by 20.3 by 25.4 cm) can be made as unitary pieces of a room- temperature- curing polymer,...

A dry process has been invented as an improved means of manufacturing composite prepreg tapes that consist of high- temperature thermoplastic polyimide resin matrices reinforced...

Aerothermoelasticity comprises those aspects of the dynamics of an aircraft that are caused by flexibility and heating during flight. The concept of aerothermoelasticity is particularly...

Briefs: Information Technology
Algorithms for Haptic Rendering of 3D Objects

Algorithms have been developed to provide haptic rendering of three-dimensional (3D) objects in virtual (that is, computationally simulated) environments. The goal of haptic rendering is to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Prognostics Methodology for Complex Systems

An automatic method to schedule maintenance and repair of complex systems is produced based on a computational structure called the Informed Maintenance Grid (IMG). This method provides solutions...

Briefs: Materials
Shields for Enhanced Protection Against High-Speed Debris

A report describes improvements over the conventional Whipple shield (two thin, spaced aluminum walls) for protecting spacecraft against high-speed impacts of orbiting debris. The debris in question arises mainly from breakup of older spacecraft. The improved shields include exterior...

"COR-RA" (colorless atomic oxygen resistant — radiation shield) is the name of a transparent polymeric material filled with x-ray-absorbing salts of lead, bismuth, cesium, and...

An improved, lightweight design has been proposed for super-pressure balloons used to carry scientific instruments at high altitudes in the atmosphere of Earth for times as long as 100 days. [A...

Liquid/vapor-phase corrosion inhibitors (LVCIs) have been found to be additionally useful as penetrant dyes for neutron radiography (and perhaps also x-radiography). Enhancement of...

An explicit material model that uses predicted pressure in the pores of a carbon-cloth phenolic (CCP) composite has been developed. This model is intended to be used within a...

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