Articles : Propulsion
NASA’s Pursuit of Power

Advances in Capacitor Materials

Electrochemical capacitors, or supercapacitors, have gained intense interest as an alternative to traditional energy storage devices. Applications for supercapacitors range from plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to backup power sources. While the power density of...

News : Automotive
Lattice Structure Absorbs Propeller Vibrations

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a lattice structure capable of absorbing a wide range of vibrations while also being useful as a load-bearing component in propellers, rotors, and rockets. The three-dimensional lattice structure has a lattice spacing of around 3.5 mm, and was fabricated out...

News : Propulsion
Technique Controls Autonomous Vehicles in Extreme Conditions

Researchers have devised a novel way to help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits. The new technology is being tested by racing, sliding, and jumping one-fifth-scale, fully autonomous auto-rally cars at the equivalent of 90 mph. The...

Briefs : Propulsion
Generation-2 Lean Direction Injection System

An advanced Lean-Direct-Injection (LDI) turbine engine combustor was developed. Named LDI-II, which stands for second-generation LDI, this technology has vastly improved and expanded the performance characteristics of the initial LDI design by not only exceeding NASA’s N+2 emissions goal, but also...

Briefs : Propulsion
Testing Aircraft Electric Propulsion Systems on NASA’s Modular Stand

As powered flight expands to include electric propulsion technologies, aeronautics designers need to understand the electrical, aerodynamic, and structural characteristics of these systems. Therefore, researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a...

Briefs : Propulsion
Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster

The Hall effect thruster (HET) was designed for long-duration operation with gaseous iodine as the propellant. Iodine is an alternative to the state-of-the-art propellant xenon. Compared to xenon, iodine stores as a solid at much higher density and at a much lower pressure. Because iodine is a halogen, it...

Briefs : Propulsion
Burnable-Poison-Operated Reactor Using Gadolinium Loaded Alloy

The problem to be resolved in this work was the use of radial control drums as the sole active reactivity control system for nuclear thermal propulsion, which results in significant rocket performance changes during full-power operation. This can result in large inefficiencies in...

News : Aerospace
NASA Tests 3D-Printed Rocket Fuel Pump

NASA tested a 3D printed rocket engine turbopump with liquid methane – an ideal propellant for engines needed to power many types of spacecraft for NASA’s journey to Mars. During the full-power test, the turbines generated 600 horsepower and the fuel pump got its “heartbeat” racing at more than...

News : Photonics/Optics
New Technique Could Improve Detection of Concealed Nuclear Materials

A low-energy nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium in cargo containers arriving at U.S. ports was demonstrated. The method relies on a combination of neutrons and high-energy photons to detect shielded...

News : Energy
NASA Tests Revolutionary E-Sail Propulsion Technology

Testing has started at NASA on a concept called the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS), a propellant-less propulsion system that would harness solar wind to travel into interstellar space. “The sun releases protons and electrons into the solar wind at very high speeds --...

Briefs : Propulsion
An On-Demand Gas Generator for CubeSat or Low-Mass Propulsion Systems

There are difficulties related to storing enough gas to propel a CubeSat within an onboard tank. Currently, a CubeSat requiring a large volume of gas for extended propulsion (outside Earth orbit) would need to store liquefied gases that require heavy-bodied tanks that add...

Briefs : Propulsion
Suppression of Unwanted Noise and Howl in a Test Configuration Where Jet Exhaust is Discharged Into a Duct

This technology is based on a model-scale experiment simulating a test facility where an engine exhaust is discharged into a duct. Such a configuration sometimes encounters unwanted noise in the form of high-amplitude spectral levels in...

Briefs : Propulsion
Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes Integration for Shock Noise (RISN)

Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) Integration for Shock- Noise (RISN) is a computer program that evaluates acoustic analogies to predict jet noise. Jet noise is due to turbulence from the chaotic flow within the exhaust of a rocket or air-breathing jet engine. The source of...

Briefs : Aerospace
Regeneratively Cooled Porous Media Jacket

A non-toxic nitrous oxide fuel blend (NOFB) monopropellant with a high adiabatic flame temperature reaching and probably exceeding 3,450 K and a very high thermal decomposition limit (>390 °C) is under development. To design an optimal rocket engine that can handle the high adiabatic temperature...

Briefs : Aerospace
Multi-Pulse Motor (MPM) Designed for Use with Electric Solid Propellants

The multi-pulse motor is a solid-propellant rocket motor that is able to produce a number of pulses for various thrust levels (5 to 30 pulses and thrusts between 0.25 and 1.5 N, depending on electric power delivery system) and can be turned on and off through the...

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