Technology Today® Features Archive
R eview past Technology Today articles, organized in reverse chronological order (current year to 1984), by selecting the issue (season and year) in the search box below. Technology Today is published three times a year. To search the entire SwRI site, use search SwRI.
Mars on Earth
The Great Kobuk Sand Dunes in Alaska provide an Earth analog for Martian geology.
Measuring the Radiation
Environment on Mars
An SwRI-led instrument is determining radiation hazards for future manned missions to Mars.
SwRI engineers use a variety of techniques to ensure the integrity of pressure vessels and other structures.
Within ARMS Reach
An SwRI-developed technique enhances the capability of portable gamma ray imaging devices.
A Cosmic Energy Source in 3-D
SwRI-developed Hot Plasma Composition Analyzers will fly aboard four satellites studying magnetic reconnection as part of NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission.
SwRI’s extensive consortia experience stems from a 1984 law.
A Cast of Thousandths
An SwRI-developed method of casting diesel engine cylinder heads with greater precision wins an R&D 100 Award.
Unmanned and Downrange
SwRI engineers successfully demonstrated military applications for autonomous unmanned ground vehicles during 2012.
Clues from Burning Furniture
An SwRI-led study of how upholstered furniture burns will help fire investigators reduce uncertainty in determining the cause of a fire.
Searching the Moon’s Shadows
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's LAMP reveals craters’ hidden features.
Secrets Written in Dust
Research chemists at SwRI investigated dust for its ability to retain unique source attribution profiles.
Aiming for the Stars
An SwRI-led team examined the potential for a balloon-borne telescope to acquire and track celestial targets.
Seeing Sea Ice
SwRI scientists analyze satellite radar data to gain insight into annual changes in the volume of sea ice near Antarctica.
Controlling Greenhouse Gases
SwRI researchers develop advanced centrifugal compressor technology for carbon capture and sequestration.
Solar Wind Storm
An SwRI-led team’s analysis of data from NASA’s STEREO spacecraft yields new, detailed images of a coronal mass ejection headed toward Earth.
Improving Surface Properties of Materials
SwRI researchers are using advanced processes and diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings to reduce wear and strengthen materials.
Keeping Jet Fuel Clean and Dry
SwRI’s aviation filtration test facility helps fuel handling facilities remove contaminants and ensure smooth flow, from storage tanks to aircraft fuel tanks.
Particle Emissions from Direct Injection Gasoline Engines
A team of SwRI engineers examines how emissions systems and engine technologies can affect the mass, numbers and average sizes of exhaust particles from gasoline engines.
Dual Coil Offset Ignition System Wins R&D 100 Award
An SwRI-developed technology enables gasoline engines to run efficiently with high levels of exhaust gas recirculation.
Along for the Ride
SwRI’s role in NASA’s space shuttle program spanned its career.
Shining a Light on Friendly Fire
A new radio technology helps warfighters distinguish between friend and foe.
Taking Asteroids for Granite
Bouncing a pair of 3,000-pound granite spheres together helps refine existing models for calculating the effects of space collisions.
The Project Information Management System (and more)
A family of R&D web applications originated with a friendly bet.
An SwRI-developed training program for dealing with behavioral problems is available for home computers or as an iPhone application.
At a Moment’s Notice
SwRI field service professionals travel the globe to provide quick response solutions to machinery and piping system dynamics problems.
A Ribbon at the Solar System’s Edge
A low-cost Earth-orbiting spacecraft discovers much more than scientists expected.
Sentinel in the Sky
An autonomous airship offers long-duration, high-altitude capabilities.
Not So Simple SIIMON
SwRI designs, tests and delivers a hand-held biometrics collection kit.
An SwRI-developed miniature robot sensor creates a map of submerged caves and channels.
From CO2 to H2O
SwRI compressor technology helps NASA produce water in space.
Clean and Cool
Cooled EGR improves fuel economy and emissions in gasoline engines.
Fifteen Years Strong
SwRI’s Planetary Science Directorate has built a worldwide reputation on investigating mysteries across time and space, from the death of the dinosaurs to a close-up look at Pluto.
Listening for Danger Signals
An SwRI-developed system helps warfighters detect and locate the distinctive radio signature of a fired weapon.
Food for Thought
SwRI chemists detect foreign materials, allergens and residues in food samples.
SwRI engineers design, build and test a prototype wind turbine array.
Hybrids in our Future
The manager of SwRI’s Advanced Vehicle Technology Section discusses trends in hybrid vehicles and their role in our transportation energy future.
Before the Fall
An SwRI-developed monitoring system helps nursing homes prevent patients from attempting to exit their beds without assistance.
Reading the Rocks
SwRI geophysicists have created a new algorithm that uses cross-dipole sonic data to estimate formation properties around the borehole.
SwRI researchers are developing an advanced computer code to simulate high-velocity impact.
Designing a Unique Lab for Advanced Military Vehicles
A new Army facility will support the warfighter with next-generation ground vehicles.
Countering Cosmic Collisions
Even relatively small space objects can cause damage to Earth.
An SwRI-developed trending tool helps analyze jet engine performance data.
An SwRI-developed robotic system removes coatings from off-airframe components of military aircraft
New Materials, New Methods
SwRI researchers are using advanced computational tools to develop and analyze nanomaterials
Enhancing Our World’s Energy Supply
SwRI engineers are developing new technology for subsea natural gas production
Digging Into Simulation
An SwRI-developed simulator helps train excavator operators safely and effectively
SwRI plays a significant role in the 15th World Congress on ITS
A new engine for the Asian market meets emissions control regulations.
Exploring the Galactic Frontier
The Interstellar Boundary Explorer is set to reveal fascinating new details about the region separating our solar system from interstellar space.
Setting the Standard
SwRI’s Heavy-Duty Engine Benchmarking Program provides a means to obtain comprehensive performance and design data on new diesel engines.
An SwRI-developed subsurface contaminant transport software received a 2008 R&D 100 Award.
Super Hard, Very Tough
Nanocomposite coatings find new applications in more durable tools and turbine blades.
Aging Warplane, New Life
Upgraded weapons, electronics keep the A-10 Thunderbolt II a winning combat aircraft.
Approaches to Corrosion
A panel of SwRI scientists and engineers recently talked about their respective research into corrosion's effects, its detection and its prevention.
Space Radiation Forecast
A new method provides astronauts up to an hour's warning of approaching hazardous particles from extreme solar events.
New Angle on Pipe Inspection
Approximately one-third of U.S. natural gas pipelines cannot be inspected by traditional methods. SwRI researchers have developed a technology to inspect these pipelines.
Predicting Potential Failure
SwRI researchers team with industry to develop aircraft engine reliability software.
Pluto-bound New Horizons' Jupiter flyby generates a flurry of discoveries.
Going the Distance
The incoming president of SAE International answers Technology Today's questions about vehicles, engines and fuels.
Detecting Past Life on Mars
SwRI researchers develop new technique to identify biomarkers.
Carved in Stone
A Texas flood’s aftermath reveals an unprecedented view of geologic faults.
Putting the Pieces Together
Software-defined radio technology is part of the network-based space communications puzzle.
SwRI-Developed Products Win R&D 100 Awards
A new compressor plate valve and a client’s corrosion analyzer are among winners for 2007.
Earthquake Ground Movements
SwRI scientists use satellite remote sensing to map ground ruptures and surface displacements.
Nearly eight years from its Pluto target, the New Horizons SWAP instrument observes solar wind interactions near Jupiter.
SwRI Celebrates 60 Years
The Institute responds to the changing needs of clients and the nation.
Closing the Safety Loop
Technology links smart vehicles with intelligent highways.
Roadmap to the Driverless Vehicle
An SwRI initiative uses Intelligent Traffic Systems technologies to improve the state of the art in autonomous vehicles.
Balance of Power
Hydraulic-powered components add to vehicle efficiency, reduce emissions.
The Fluid Properties Meter
SwRI researchers develop innovative energy meter to determine natural gas properties.
MsS® Heat Exchanger Probe Wins R&D 100 Award
Inspection system surveys heat exchanger tubes faster than conventional methods.
Making the World a Safer Place to Live
Technologies that nondestructively examine materials and structures for flaws remain vital to assuring the reliability of America's industrial components and aging infrastructure.
Air Crews in Training
An upgraded simulator helps train Air Force Reserve C-130 air crews.
Voyage from the Bottom of the Sea
SwRI researchers help design a next-generation submarine rescue vehicle.
Friendly Eyes, Hostile Skies
An SwRI-developed flight management system adds capability to a compact unmanned aircraft system.
Quality Through a Prism
An SwRI-developed data acquisition system improves automotive fluid and component evaluations.
Ensuring the Health of Our Power Lines
SwRI engineers are working with EPRI to develop remote sensors for electric transmission lines.
The Particulars of Diesel Particle Emissions
New research looks at particle numbers and size as well as mass.
Maximizing a Potentially Significant Energy Source
SwRI researchers develop ultra-thin metal membranes for hydrogen gas separation.
Supply and Demand
Despite rising costs, natural gas will remain an important source of energy worldwide.
New Horizons spacecraft begins an historic, 10-year voyage to the Ice Planet.
A NASA rocket carrying a next-generation ultraviolet spectrograph for solar physics research will help answer some of the mysteries of the Sun.
The Quest for GraIL™
An SwRI-designed graphics engine reduces cost, increases flexibility on graphics-intensive applications.
Cassini finds hot-water plasmas and a comet-like moon at Saturn.
Sharp Turns in the Road Ahead
New fuels and vehicle designs could be in the future as oil supplies begin to dwindle.
Compression Technology for the Next Generation
SwRI engineers develop new tools to enhance gas transmission.
Perspectives on Returning the Space Shuttle to Flight
Technology Today talks with a panel of SwRI experts in mechanical and materials engineering, ballistics, computational fluid dynamics and impact modeling regarding the Institute’s role in NASA’s space shuttle return-to-flight program.
An SwRI-developed trainer helps Air Force refueling boom operators gain skills without flying.
Running the Numbers
SwRI-developed software helps simplify reliability predictions of complex systems.
Giving F-16 Wings a Lift
An SwRI-developed tool helps crews remove and re-attach fighter’s wings quickly and precisely.
Assuring the Integrity of Mechanical Systems
SwRI researchers are developing technology to help mitigate the damaging effects of corrosion.
Stretching the Pipeline
A new transfer system keeps fast-moving armies supplied with fuel and water.
New Approach to Mars
An internal research initiative targeted Mars for new skills and applications.
The Power of Design
SwRI engineers develop a low-cost centrifugal gas turbine.
MEMS – A Small World with Big Opportunities
SwRI engineers take on the big challenge of working on the very small scale.
Ears in the Sky
SwRI accomplishes airborne acoustic surveillance via unmanned aerial vehicles.
FOCAS® on Emissions Technology
An SwRI-developed apparatus may replace engine-based methods for catalyst aging.
Lower-emission boats may be coming soon to a lake near you.
Smooth in the Clutch
New transmissions combine a manual's simplicity with an automatic's smoothness.
Measure of Success
An SwRI-developed fuel gauge for spacecraft will save fuel and money.
Cassini Plasma Spectrometer reveals Saturn's tremendous magnetospheric structure, as well as new surprises.
SwRI Wins R&D 100 Awards
Vehicle and powertrain simulation software, 3-D measuring device are among the year's top inventions.
Cracking a Cosmic Mystery
Seismology offers clues to the interiors of asteroids.
On Track Toward Cleaner Large Engines
New emissions reduction strategies focus on locomotives and ferry boats.
Secure Locations, Secure Medications
Advanced information technology provides prescription for rising healthcare costs.
New Life for Aging Systems
Re-engineering helps keep the Atmospheric Early Warning System vital in a new century.
On the Leading Edge
SwRI ballistics tests help investigators determine the cause of Columbia loss.
The Three-Dimensional Solar Wind
Ulysses observations contribute to an evolving view of the three-dimensional solar wind from the Sun to the galactic frontier.
Waves of the Future
Guided-wave technology that effectively inspects and monitors large structures is finding its way into numerous industries and applications.
SwRI wins two R&D 100 Awards for 2003
Software code and transmission test cell are honored in Chicago ceremony.
Simulating failure for success
A jointly developed SwRI-NASA computer program accurately simulates cracking in mechanical components, allowing repair or replacement before costly failure occurs.
Connecting traffic management centers will help motorists move across Texas
Testing New Designs in the Loop, Not on the Oval
The Virtual Vehicle Transmission Test Cell can save valuable time for auto designers
Safety in the (Very) Long Run
The CNWRA is supporting the assessment of long-term performance of a proposed geologic nuclear waste disposal site
Olympus DISS™ software helps researchers visualize data
A Potentially Deadly Spread
When apple jelly appears, the fuel delivery system is toast
Through the Looking Glass
SwRI-developed device helps engineers get a closer look at hydrates
More Power To You
Video sagometer helps utility companies tap unused capacity from power lines
Making the "Smart Pig" Smarter
The addition of nonlinear harmonic sensors improves the discovery of dangerous pipeline defects.
Seeing in Black and White
New light-based technology allows surface measurement without contacting the surface.
Field course gives petroleum geoscientists a top-to-bottom view of the structural geology of oil exploration.
The Drive for Better Fuel Economy
Fuel, lubricant and component testing helps industry achieve Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.
Slipping Stealthily Across the Seas
A new antenna design helps U.S. warships escape enemy detection.
An imaging software "pipeline" enhances pictures of faint objects in deep space.
A new material developed for the U.S. Marine Corps may help isolate facilities and thwart confrontational crowds.
Nine Tons of Hardware-in-the-Loop
Simulation and autopilot designs help NASA develop low-cost space vehicles.
A new propane engine demonstrates the tough off-road vehicle emissions standards set for 2008 can be met.
Researchers are integrating fuel cells into heavy-duty tractor-trailers in a multi-year program to improve the efficiency of the vehicles.
Nondestructive Testing of Aging Aircraft
New technology improves detection of dangerous cracks in the nation's older commercial and military aircraft.
Light Years Closer
New nonlinear filtering technology can improve the accuracy of instruments used in space exploration, missile guidance and aircraft flight control systems.
Navigating Virtual Worlds
A new device enables operators to use real-world movements in simulated environments.
Diesel Fuel Testing Device Wins Award
The Ignition Quality TesterTM quickly and inexpensively rates the ignition quality of diesel fuel, which could result in lower prices at the pump.
What Made the Moon?
Simulations show a single impact by a Mars-sized object in the late stages of Earth's formation could have created the Earth-moon system.
Accelerating Cancer Drug Discovery
Michael A. Miller and Jian Ling
SwRI researchers are using 3-D cellular imaging techniques to assess the potential of cancer-fighting drugs more quickly.
Gold in Those Hills
James R. Weldy
SwRI-developed analytical laboratory allows modern day prospectors to assay their finds in the field.
High Rate of Precision
A team of SwRI technicians uses a unique instrument to rate surface distress and to quantify potentially harmful deposits left on engine parts. The instrument? The human eye.
Cleared for Landing
SwRI has developed a virtual reality simulator for the U.S. Air Force to provide a more realistic training environment for air traffic controllers.
Jupiter Lights Up
Researchers observe an unusually bright flare from the planet with the most powerful auroras in the solar system.
Protecting the Environment and Human Health
Gang Sun, Ph.D.
SwRI has a one-stop shop for clients who want to ensure that their pesticides meet increasingly strict federal environmental regulations.
Predicting Rock Burst Underground
Sui-Min Hsiung, PhD
Sound sensors may be able to foretell an impending mine explosion--technology that could save lives and money.
Fuel for the Forces
Scott A. Hutzler
New fuel-level sensing and communication technologies that permit real-time fuel management on the battlefield will help the U.S. Marine Corps keep its equipment moving to military hot spots when needed.
Engineering a Miracle
Viewpoint: Necessity, not magic, is what enables scientists and engineers to create miracles of technology
Putting a New Spin on an Old Problem
Franklin T. Dodge, PhD
An experimental facility will help ensure that future spacecraft can orbit successfully after liftoff by developing a way to compensate for the motion of sloshing rocket fuel.
Evolution of an Engine
John T. Kubesh
Innovative technologies are helping heavy-duty natural gas engines to meet the strictest emissions regulations yet.
Designing Pipeline Safety
Edgar R. Dupré
Engineers are building safety and reliability into today’s pipeline compressor systems. Safer Highways, Safer Skies Technologies that could save lives on the road and in the air are named significant developments of the year.
Spacecraft Exploration of Deep Space
Clark R. Chapman, Ph.D.
A prominent space scientist considers deep space research and the ever-present budgetary ax.
Gearing Up for CVTs
Michael A. Kluger
The continuously variable transmission is helping the automotive industry improve vehicle fuel consumption and reduce emissions.
Keeping Disaster at a Distance
Patricia Moseley Bowles and P.A. Cox
Computer models that predict where debris might fall after a catastrophic explosion are helping engineers safely site aircraft and ammunition magazines.
New Eyes in Space
Stunning images of the previously unseen magnetosphere are enhancing knowledge of the Earth's sometimes volatile interactions with the sun.
A Cleaner-Burning Diesel
Novel technologies are helping the most efficient engine clean up its act for the vehicles of tomorrow.
A Decade Later
Dr. Brent M. Nowak
A major retrofit of the robotic depaint facility – completed 10 years after the original program began – is keeping the Air Force F-15 fleet flying high.
Computers in the Sky
Carl A. Bargainer, Ronald D. Knuppel, and David A. Ogden
Unmanned aerial vehicles outfitted with autonomous guidance and control systems are increasingly replacing human-piloted craft for dangerous or expensive tasks.
Improving Tank Car Safety
Joseph W. Cardinal
Damage tolerance analysis methods are helping the railway industry assess the structural integrity of tank cars.
The Asteroid Moon
The first ground-based observations of a moon orbiting an asteroid are helping researchers learn more about asteroid composition and structure.
To See the Invisible
Dr. James L. Burch
A half-ton satellite carrying some of the most sophisticated imaging instruments ever flown in near-Earth space will soon help researchers predict "space storms," which can disrupt power grids and communications worldwide.
Dr. David W. Naegeli
A prominent fuels chemist talks about the energy crisis and the fuel that will drive America into the next millennium.
Flow Meter Calibration
Edgar B. Bowles
Lower costs for consumers and increased profits for natural gas distributors result from the effective calibration of fluid flow meters.
Charles T. Hare and Magdi K. Khair
With only three years before diesel engine manufacturers are required to meet new emissions standards, engineers are using innovative technologies to expedite efficient solutions.
Assuring Heart Valve Reliability
Dr. James Lankford
Technology derived from early research in the nuclear power industry is proving useful for assuring the quality of mechanical heart valves -- crucial for the more than 80,000 adults who undergo procedures to replace damaged heart valves each year.
The New Space Environment
Dr. David T. Young and John J. Hanley
NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" concept radically changed experimental space science -- and fostered the development of one of the most efficient plasma sensors ever to fly.
Bruce B. Bykowski, Dr. Jay L. Fisher, Dr. Robert L. Bass, Dr. Gerald R. Leverant, and Dr. Thomas W. Ryan
Technology Today talks with a panel of SwRI experts in automotive emissions, nondestructive evaluation, mechanical systems, materials engineering, and engine design to find out what makes cooperative industry research an efficient means to an otherwise expensive end.
Big Bang, New Moon
Dr. Robin Canup
Computer models suggest single or multiple collisions between young Earth and other bodies could have blown the right amount of debris into orbit to create our moon.
Looking Beneath the Earth’s Surface
Laura M. Connor, Dr. Charles B. Connor, and Peter C. La Femina
A system that detects underground magnetic anomolies enables survey technicians to quickly visualize and interpret buried geophysical data.
Fueling a Trip From Mars
Steven T. Green and Danny M. Deffenbaugh
As probes venture deeper into space, researchers are evaluating several options for producing fuel on Mars to support manned missions to the Red Planet.
Dr. Ashok Nedungadi and Mark Walls
A new, parallel hybrid powertrain design may be the key to significantly increasing fuel economy and reducing automotive emissions.
What’s Under Europa’s Icy Crust?
Dr. Clark R. Chapman
Tidal forces from nearby Jupiter may create enough internal heat to keep water liquid beneath Europa’s icy surface. Studies could provide answers for scientists who wonder whether Europa may be the solar system’s best hope for extraterrestrial life
the Fatigue Mystery
Dr. David L. Davidson
SwRI technology enables engineers to study the formation and behavior of tiny cracks that develop when metal is stressed over thousands of service cycles, such as may occur in power plants and turbine engines.
Getting Near the Core
Grady L. Lagleder
A Japanese-built robot and SwRI ultrasonic transducer technology allow nuclear power plant inspectors to detect flaws from the inside of steel pressure vessels — despite radioactivity and cramped spaces.
Daniel P. Nicolella
Imagine a material that senses varying loads, adapts to maintain reliability, repairs itself when damaged, and survives tens of millions of load cycles. We walk around with this material every day — and we can’t survive without it.
Feeling the Heat
Kevin S. Honeyager
A new, handheld weather station allows accurate measurement of workplace conditions to warn of impending heat stress.
Dr. Keith A. Lysiak
Realistic computer simulations are replacing scale models and expensive, full-scale mockups in the search for the best site for shipboard antenna arrays
Dr. Michael G. MacNaughton
Technology Today talks with Vice President Dr. Michael G. MacNaughton about SwRI’s role in ensuring environmental safety during the destruction of outdated chemical munitions.
Out the Window
Dr. S. Alan Stern
A compact telescope turns the space shuttle, or even a high-flying aircraft, into a cosmic observatory — enabling researchers to observe Comet Hale-Bopp as it retreated toward the sun.
Putting the Bite on New Materials
Dr. Stephen T. Wellinghoff
Materials scientists are developing a novel restorative material for use in dental composites. The material, made from tantalum oxide and silica nanoparticle fillers in a liquid crystal monomer matrix, retains desirable properties of existing restoratives while avoiding short-comings such as susceptibility to shrinking and cracking.
Dr. Gregory J. Hatton and André M. Barajas
Engineers have designed and built a unique, virtual-long multiphase flow loop to study hydrates, ice-like solids that can form in deep-water flow lines, blocking hydrocarbon production.
Tracing Engine Wear
Martin B. Treuhaft and Dr. Xiaojian Tao
Even as an automotive engine is humming smoothly, critical internal parts are slowly wearing away. To measure this wear accurately and quickly without repeated engine teardowns, SwRI scientists use calculations based on gamma ray emissions from particles worn away from engine parts that have been irradiated.
Turning Bullets into Baseballs
Dr. James D. Walker
Which would you rather have hit you: a baseball projected at 130 miles per hour or a 0.30-caliber bullet fired from a rifle? While one choice may be uncomfortable, the other is likely to be deadly. Research into new kinds of body armor, aimed at making bullets behave more like baseballs, could mean the difference between sudden death or another turn at bat.
Saturn: A Journey of Exploration and Discovery
Dr. J. Hunter Waite and Dr. David T. Young
When the Cassini spacecraft leaves Earth in October 1997 to begin its seven-year, 1.4 billion kilometer journey to Saturn, it will carry the most sophisticated set of experimental equipment yet flown to any planet. Institute scientists developed two elements of the Cassini instrument package.
The Heat Is On
Dr. Daniel Boice
Using knowledge gleaned from studies of planets and comets, Institute scientists are building computer models to further understand the "urban heat island" effect, a phenomenon thought responsible for increased temperatures in large cities.
The Hunt for Hydrocarbons
Dr. Jorge O. Parra
Theoretical and numerical models of oil and gas reservoirs, developed by SwRI scientists, aid in exploration for hydrocarbons.
Replacing Cells to Fight Disease
Dr. Niraj Vasishtha
Encapsulating and transplanting pancreatic islets of Langerhans has received much attention as a treatment for insulin-dependent diabetics. SwRI scientists are testing a biomatrix that may be able to extend cell viability and ward off immunorejection.
Saving Lives with SABER
M. LaVarre Bushman and James A. Moryl
Created to cut through battlefield confusion, the Situational Awareness Beacon with Reply system, or SABER, is being used by the military to reduce friendly fire, track troop and asset movement, and link existing command, control, and communications systems.
Toolkit for Tomorrow’s Car
Scott T. McBroom
Lighter, more efficient, powered by low-emissions technologies -- the car of the future is being shaped by engineers and analysts whose tools are advanced simulation and modeling programs.
Added Safety and Convenience for San Antonio Motorists
Institute researchers are developing a number of innovative features to improve traffic flow and increase traveler safety. The improvements will be implemented through the Texas Department of Transportation TransGuide System.
The Many Languages of Training
R. Curtis Heinen
Instructional courseware development experts at SwRI devise effective learning environments or military and commercial clients through the use of multiple training strategies and advanced interactive tools.
John W. Strybos, P.E.
Institute engineers continue to build on more than 30 years in research and development of effective safety devices for state highway departments and private industry.
Where the Pipeline Meets the Permafrost
Marina Q. Smith
An innovative combined analytical and experimental approach provides a cost-effective means of assessing Trans-Alaska pipeline corrosion and settling.
Let’s Clear the Air
Technology Today interviews Karl J. Springer, former vice president of the Automotive Products and Emissions Research Division at SwRI and nationally recognized authority on the control of vehicle air pollution.
Fuel Cells Come Down to Earth
Edward A. Bass, P.E.
Used for the last three decades to supply electric power for spacecraft, fuel cells are making the transition to automobiles. Institute researchers are developing promising new designs for fuel cells destined for vehicle propulsion systems.
IMAGEing Magnetosphere’s Response to Solar Wind
SwRI will serve as principal investigator on a NASA mission to provide the first global images of the effects of solar wind on the Earth’s magnetosphere.
Predicting a Fault’s Next Move
Institute scientists have developed a software program called 3Dstress™ to evaluate the tendency of faults and fractures to slip or dilate, depending on the orientation and magnitude of in situ stresses.
Stanley K. Widener
Sophisticated computer-based tools are revolutionizing engine design by revealing new facts about components in service, resulting in reduced development time and improved product quality.
Harmful Compounds Yield to Nonthermal Plasma Reactor
Dr. Michael G. Grothaus and E. Robert Fanick
A new air pollution abatement technology can transform a broad range of harmful constituents into less harmful compounds using a fraction of the energy consumed by existing techniques.
Cold War Legacy: Low-Level Nuclear Weapons Waste
Dr. Glenn M. Light
Institute capabilities in nondestructive evaluation and sensor technology are being applied to the characterization and long-term storage of low-level nuclear weapons waste.
Biomaterials: Body Parts of the Future
Dr. Cheryl R. Blanchard
Institute scientists are developing materials and techniques to address the problems of biocompatibility, wear, and failure in joint, organ, and tissue replacements, to improve and prolong their performance in the human body.
Comet Reservoir Detected at Outer Reaches of Solar System
Dr. Harold F. Levison
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team of scientist from the University of Texas at Austin, SwRI, and Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, has confirmed the existence of the Kuiper Belt of comets.
Rapid Prototyping Engine Control System
A flexible tool designed at SwRI to help engineers and manufacturers develop and test engine control algorithms can be used with a variety of fuels and engine configurations
Assessing Long-Term Volcanic Hazards to the Geological
Disposal of Nuclear Waste
Dr. Charles B. Connor
Probabilistic models, studies of analogous modern cinder cone eruptions, and new tectonic analysis methods help SwRI scientists predict potential volcanic events in the Yucca Mountain region.
Mapping the Invisible Moon
Dr. G. Randy Gladstone
Scientists are studying the moon’s surface with an ultraviolet imaging technique that may be used in the future to gather information about the geological history of more distant objects, such as outer planet satellites and asteroids.
The Art and Science of Microencapsulation
Dr. John Franjione and Dr. Niraj Vasishtha
Considered something of an art because of the many scientific and engineering disciplines it encompasses, microencapsulation is undergoing a new level of security as researchers seek to better understand compound fluid jet breakup.
Keeping Food Fresh Longer
Dr. Stephen T. Wellinghoff
A biocidal polymer coating to retard containment growth in food packaging shows promise for health care applications as well.
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Back in Style: Magnetostrictive Sensors
A common element in engineering applications during the first half of this century, magnetostrictive sensor (MsS®) technology was eclipsed for several decades by piezoelectric devices. Institute scientists have rediscovered the value of MsS techniques as they attempt to locate and monitor flaws in structures as varied as pipes and engines.
The Quest for Improved Transmission Efficiencies
Automatic and manual transmission and transaxle testing capabilities at SwRI have been enhanced by the addition of a specialized fixture to evaluate transmission gear-box components. Institute researchers are using the results of the comprehensive testing program to help the industry meet fuel economy goals.
Relief from Space Flight Motion Sickness
Scientists at SwRI are exploring alternative methods of administering anti-motion sickness drugs in anti-gravity environments, both to combat physiological drawbacks to conventional means of drug delivery and to make such procedures more comfortable for those undergoing them.
Understanding the Impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy
After practicing in a number of different investigations of the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter last July, Institute scientists are beginning to report the preliminary results of their work.
Locomotive Exhaust: On Track
Steve Fritz and Vernon Markworth
The railroad industry is experiencing record growth, coupled with an increasing emphasis on the regulation of locomotive engine emissions. Institute studies are assisting regulatory agencies and the industry in the collection of baseline emissions data, so appropriate goals can be set.
Worldwide Tracking via Satellite
Lavarre Bushman and M. Pike Castles
An SwRI-developed beacon the size of a VHS cassette can transmit precise location data from any point worldwide to a central receiving station.
Institute engineers have devised a way to trace engine wear by irradiating critical engine components.
Upgrading the Nation’s Largest Space Surveillance Radar
J. Mark Major
Wielding custom-designed RF power transistors and integrated electronics, SwRI engineers are enhancing the performance and reliability of the largest space surveillance radar in the U.S.
Investigating the Effects of Pesticide Exposure
In the Home
David E. Camann
A technique to remove interfering compounds from carpet dust, allowing the effective isolation of pesticide residues, is just one advance made at SwRI in the effort to link environmental pollutant exposure with disease.
Reducing Diesel Engine Emissions by Altering Fuel
Terry L. Ullman
The Institute has responded to recently legislated changes in diesel fuel specifications with new technology to measure and characterize emissions.
Taking the Charge Out of Pipe Repair
Electrostatic charges that build up on the inside and outside surfaces of gas industry polyethylene pipes can be dissipated safely, thanks to a system developed by Institute researchers.
Gregory T. Noren
Designed for military mission planners, this modeling, simulation, and data visualization tool can be adapted to commercial applications as well.
Deep Immersion Virtual Environments
John P. Cater
SwRI-developed virtual environment training systems for astronauts and firefighters allow exposure to hazardous, exacting duties in the safety of a development laboratory.
Altering Material Surfaces to Prolong Service Life
Dr. Geoffrey Dearnaley
A new facility at the Institute will enable a variety of device and component surfaces to be strengthened by bombarding them with energetic ion beams.
Astronomy on the Edge
Mysterious and distant, the possible home of short-period comets, the Kuiper belt has so far eluded direct observation. Researchers at SwRI are employing billions of computations to add to the scanty knowledge about this area on the rim of the Solar System.
Ballistics Research and Computational Physics
Dr. James D. Walker
Certain aspects of near-instantaneous ballistics tests defy observation by conventional means, but simulating impact and explosive events through computational physics allows insight into material behavior and interactions.
Reformulated Gasolines: How Do Their Emissions
Dr. Lawrence R. Smith
Engineers at SwRI have developed a versatile suite of analytical techniques to quantify reactive organic gases in the exhaust and evaporative emissions of reformulated fuels.
A military surveillance system suspended by balloon promises cost savings, less chance of detection, and added safety of air crews.
Sweden Selects Institute for Waste Disposal
The SwRI Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses will assist Sweden in licensing an underground repository for high-level radioactive nuclear waste.
Flying Longer, with Confidence
Dr. O. Hal Burnside
Institute researchers evaluate strategies to extend the service lives of military aircraft in the face of declining defense budgets, new technology, and concerns about structural flight safety.
Low-Emission Transportation Fuels
Norman R. Sefer
Tailoring experimental fuels for engine and vehicle research.
Missile Test Flights, Minus the Flight
Paul F. Fitzgerald and Steve B. Hugg
Test firing a cruise missile is complex and costly, but programming its flight computer with simulation software is a practical alternative means of analyzing missile performance.
Seeking Out Engineering Training Needs
Dr. Chia-jer Tsai
A computer-based survey can provide answers. Signal Soup Robert W. Robison How digital signal processing picks one radio wave out of many.
Combating a Pilot’s Invisible Enemy
Institute scientists explore new ways to eliminate spatial disorientation.
Out of Bounds
Dr. James Lankford and John Campbell
How scanning probe microscopy is carrying materials research out of bounds.
A Successful Career Built on Failure
Staff Engineer Herman C. Burghard reflects on his experiences in the evolving field of failure analysis.
Dr. Matthew L. Alexander
SwRI’s biodegradation approach to the destruction and control of wastes.
Combine and Conquer
Donald W. Johnson
A new device allows simultaneous performance of hyperbaric procedures and magnetic resonance imaging, promising to advance our understanding of certain medical phenomena.
Troubleshooting for Utilities
An in-plant monitoring system boosts the efficiency of combustion turbine operation.
New Light on Auroras
Dr. Jill Marshall, Dr. Jim Burch, and William C. Gibson
Moving beyond passive observation to active experiments in space, Institute researchers shed new light on auroras.
TESS: Tools for Spray Studies
Lee G. Dodge
Computer modeling helps resolve the puzzling behavior of evaporating sprays.
A visual training program on the detection and avoidance of windshear will help pilots fly.
NeuView Spies Faults in Electronic Components
Infrared images and artificial neural networks join forces as the newest investigative team on the boards.
Designs for Safer Screens
William H. McGinnis
Hazards associated with video display terminals may be elusive, but the chase is on for lower emissions.
Laying to Rest the Tombstone Syndrome
Dr. Melvin F. Kanninen
Despite crowded skies and aging air fleets, continuing research makes commercial aviation progressively safer.
Engineer, With or Without an Engine
Charles D. Wood
Chip Wood, former Institute vice president in charge of the Engine, Fuel, and Vehicle Research Division, discusses his career.
Natural Analog Studies for Geologic Disposal of
Dr. William M. Murphy
Analogous system studies permit the appraisal of processes likely to influence nuclear waste repository performance.
Spinoff from Space
Richard L. Murphy
Transferring NASA-developed technology to commercial users can give a competitive edge to the American economy.
A Drive for Better Measurement of Natural Gas
Dr. Robert L. Bass
Needs for improved accuracy, control, and cost effectiveness lead to the launching of a unique Metering Research Facility.
Taking the Measure of Antennas from on High
Tim A. Millington
An experimental technique enlists the pinpoint positioning capability of global positioning system navigational satellites to calibrate shipmounted radio direction finding antennas.
Understanding the Effects of Variations in
Natural Gas Fuel Composition on Vehicle Operation
Steven R. King
The variable properties of natural gas fuel provide challenges for engine design and development engineers.
Untangling the Roles of Man and Nature in the
The delicate atmosphere sustaining life on Earth is changing. SwRI scientists probe the part solar wind particles play in the dynamic chemistry of the upper atmosphere.
Toward Environmentally Friendly Small Engines
Charles T. Hare
Despite difficulties, exhaust emission problems need to be recognized and faced.
Portable Factory Automation
Dr. Steven W. Dellenback and Steve Novosad
Custom software integrates islands of automation and is adaptable to eight different production facilities.
A New Way of Studying Pharmacological Effects
Dr. Richard Geary and Dr. Michael Miller
Microdialysis-radioimmunoassay technique demonstrates effectiveness.
Tracking pesticides from the garden to the living room rug.
Why Don’t We See More NMR in Industry?
Dr. Colin I. Nicholls
Misconceptions obscure the worth of nuclear magnetic resonance, a valuable measurement technique.
When High Technology Meets a Human
Innovative training methods are needed for safety and effectiveness.
Natural Gas Is Not a Liquid Fuel
Roy C. Meyer
A different point of view in engine design leads to intriguing results when varied piston geometry is used to compare effects of high and low turbulence.
NESSUS: A New Tool for Safer Structures
Dr. Ben Thacker and Dr. Harry R. Millwater
Software for probabilistic analysis provides a means for improving safety and reliability of complex systems.
Is Anyone Building a Robot that Can Do Windows?
Dr. Earnest Franke and Dr. Ashok Nedungadi
Present system controllers demand precise data and cannot handle inexact terms like fast or slow, or jobs like cleaning windows; however, research with fuzzy set theory is opening the way to new capabilities for automation with imprecise values.
Assuring the Safety of Natural Gas Vehicles
Dr. Stephen J. Hudak
Success for gas in this new role depends partially on defining effective procedure for fuel tank certification.
Measurement of Weight in Space
Ruell F. Solberg Jr.
Newton’s second law of motion helps determine mass in orbit.
The Magnetic Detectiv
Portable and painless, a new scientific instrument discovers hidden growths in the breasts of women, and provides the answer to the paramount question, benign or malignant?
Slurries You Can See Through
Dr. Richard J. Mannheimer
Development of transparent versions of ordinarily opaque slurries provides a new tool for research in solids transport.
Visualizing Flow in a Horizontal Well
Institute scientists are studying downhole cementing behavior using a section of oil well borehole.
Outer Planet Auroras
Dr. J. Hunter Waite
The study of auroral processes yields clues to understanding the magnetospheric environment.
Fooling our Fine Feathered Friends
Research is underway to prevent birdstrikes on airliners headed for the heavens by fooling our fine feathered friends.
Through Thick and Thin with NDE
Dr. Glenn M. Light
Advances in composites technology demand advances in nondestructive evaluation.
Toward Neural Networks
Dr. Bruce C. Mather
Researchers are constructing new computer architectures that are able to learn.
Qualifying Fuels to Avoid Intake Valve Deposits
Lee J. Grant and A. Doug Brownlow
Fuel-related driveability problems called for development of a new fleet test procedure.
Air Injection Reduces Emissions
The addition of air injection to an electrically heated catalyst can reduce emissions from fuel.
Tossed in Space: The Problems of Orbital Debris
Randy J. Tullos
Spacecraft designers are challenged by the threat of impact from thousands of objects in orbit.
Measuring Particles in Interplanetary Space
Dr. Jill A. Marshall
New Institute instruments on a proposed cometary mission should provide important clues about the formation of the solar system.
A Universe of Dynamic Particles
Dr. Daniel D. Kana
From structural shock and vibration to modeling of fluid rotary motion in space -- reflections on three decades in engineering dynamics.
Alcohol Fires: Now You See Them, Now You Don’t
Methanol would be a safer fuel if its flames were more visible.
Transportation of Radioactive Materials
Dr. John Hageman
Background radiation is found to provide much greater risk from exposure than transportation.
A Landmark Decision
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers designates the SGA/PCRC analog facility at SwRI a historic mechanical engineering landmark.
Engine Test Stand Procedures Simplified
A novel system streamlines engine, lubricant, and emissions testing for the automotive industry.
Liquid Dynamics in Space Vehicles
Dr. Frank T. Dodge and Dr. Daniel Kana
Fluid motions and thermodynamic can seriously affect spacecraft performance; low-gravity phenomena that have no counterparts on earth must be understood for future long-duration missions.
Flying On with Updated Technology
Richard D. Somers
Turbine engine monitoring system development helps take old technology into the new age.
A Dusty View of Comet Halley
Dr. Daniel C. Boice
The dynamics of escaping gas and dust, the probable site of polymer formation, are clarified in new research.
Investigation of a major cause of fatal military aircraft accidents is leading to a new technique to tell pilots which way is up.
Dr. Ralph H. Hill
Fluorescence and phosphorescence provide the basis for research techniques that are widely useful and in some cases unique.
Improved Technology for Offshore Separators
An international research program will make oil, gas, water separation more seaworthy.
Sealing Leaks in Wastewater Impoundment Liners
Glenn T. Darilek
Innovative method show that electricity can help seal leaks, as well as find them.
Tensile Test Record Still Unbroken
Stephen C. Grigory
SwRI still holds the tensile test record.
Penetrating the Puzzles of Ballistics
Dr. Charles E. Anderson
New approaches are combined with conventional techniques to seek better protection in space and on the battlefield.
Diesel Engine Design for Cleaner Air
Nigel F. Gale
For economical emissions control, engineers look to the source in the engine combustion chamber.
The Making of Microcapsules
H. Wade Schlameus
Micropackaging of progenitor bone cells is a current landmark in a 40-year history of technological ingenuity.
Probabilistic Methodology in Nuclear Waste
Dr. Prasad K. Nair and Dr. Justin Wu
Predicting barrier performance on millenial time scales requires development of new techniques.
Science Education for America’s Youth
Dr. Daniel S. Mitchell
Effective channeling of private sector support is a key factor
Something in the Air
Dr. Donald E. Johnson
Expertise gained in years of environmental programs is applied to monitoring the air at a site for chemical weapon destruction.
Putting NDE Technology to Work -- Fast
Wayne T. Flach
Nondestructive evaluation of nuclear power plants is improved by development of advanced systems for mechanical scanning and data acquisition.
The World’s Largest Autonomous Submersible
Texas-built large scale vehicle will help in design of future submarines.
Developing Vehicle Electronics on the Run
E. Sterling Kinkler Jr.
Automotive electronic controls can be modified in operation using a sophisticated new aid for developmental engineers.
To See the Bone Grow
A tiny implant gathers clues to help solve a biomedical mystery of extended space flight.
Natural Gas: Old Fuel for New Uses
Innovative engineering supports expanding use to meet needs of emissions standards, lower costs, and fuel supply reliability.
Dr. Douglas Menietti and Dr. Chin S. Lin
Natural radio signals have been detected from four planets, and space plasma theoreticians are looking for explanations.
Quest for Advanced Ceramics
Innovative means are used to study pore evolution in ceramic materials.
The Mystery of Crack Growth
Dr. David Davidson
Study of fatigue crack growth bears on both prediction of material behavior and hopes to produce better materials.
Running a Two-Cycle Outboard on Diesel
Modifications show feasibility of direct-injection, spark-assisted, tow-cycle diesel operation.
Minimizing Chemical Exposure Hazards in Marine
Dr. Robert L. Bass, William J. Astleford, and John Prevost
Ten years of research in problems of chemical vapor exposure have led to development of a marine worker occupational safety and health program.
Innovative Eddy Current Probes
Designs using ceramic or air bearing tips permit precise, high speed, nondestructive examination of jet engine components.
To Reach for the Deep
Accomplishments of Alvin and other deep-diving submersibles recall 30 years of effort to provide technology needed to probe the great ocean depth.
A Better Way to Evaluate Wire Rope
SwRI-developed fatigue test machine will help determine better service removal criteria for large diameter mine hoist ropes
Advanced Engines: Barriers and Solutions
Charles D. Wood
Consideration of two major barriers to advancing reciprocating engine design leads to new concepts.
Vehicle Systems Development for the Future
Gary L. Stecklein
Microcomputer control promises improvements in steering, suspension, and engine operation.
Managing Complexity in Automotive Engineering
Richard B. Curtin
Both vehicles and factories pose challenges for systems engineers.
Oil Film Thickness Measurement in an Operating
Albert J. Brunet
A trend to lower weight, multigraded motor oils leads engineers to seek an improved high temperature, high shear viscosity test.
A New Way to Investigate Fuel Deposits
James G. Barbee
Electrical properties of varnish-like accumulations provide a key to development of a new research method for quantified investigation of deposit formation.
Top Hat Over the Ice Cap
James R. Sharber
Work on a computerized design methodology for space research instrumentation leads to aurora-hunting in the Arctic.\
Custom Testing in the Design of Complex Systems
George K. Wolfe, J. Pete Harrell, and Steve C. Grigory
Full-scale testing helps bridge gaps between standards-based specifications and service conditions for military fuel delivery systems.
The Polymer of Comet Halley
Dr. Walter F. Huebner
First polymer found in space is identified in comet’s coma.
Fuels for Defense
Debra K. Bronstad
A unique army research facility observes its 30th anniversary.
Mysteries in Microminiature
H. Stan Silvus
Quality control for electronic equipment manufacturers is aided by painstaking procedures of construction and failure analysis.
Helping Industry’s Drive to Modernize
Steve B. Hugg, Susan B. Crumrine, and Kent A. Janes
Among numerous programs related to computer integrated manufacturing, a notable challenge was posed by the need to devise a new system for testing complex electronics on an automotive assembly line.
Engineering in Medicine
Dr. C. William Hall
Artificial organs and biomaterials development requires multidisciplinary efforts crossing boundaries between engineering and medical sciences.
Advanced Ceramics Technology
Advanced technology could solve problems relating to ceramic diesel engines.
Machines That Look Out For Themselves
Dr. Earnest A. Franke
Machine vision is still far short of human capability, but in specialized applications it can perform numerous useful functions.
Microcomputer Control: Enhanced Performance,
Gary L. Stecklein
SwRI-developed systems monitor performance and execute complex functions in response to simple commands.
Dr. Steven T. Wellinghoff
Polymer materials scientists apply interdisciplinary thinking to achieve practical goals in numerous areas.
Help in the High Lines
Jerry A. Henkener
SwRI-developed remote manipulator system will assist utilities in maintaining high voltage transmission lines.
Lifetime Prediction for Cracked Turbine Discs
Reliable techniques for sizing cracks in the turbine rotor blade attachment area are needed to assess safe service life.
Designing for an Uncertain World
Dr. Thomas A. Cruse
Probabilistic methods are being developed to help engineers deal with the variability of real world factors affecting structural design.
What Has Happened to the Cetane Number?
Dr. Thomas Ryan III
Standard procedure for rating diesel fuel ignition quality does not reliably predict performance; new methods are being sought
The Hope of Artificial Intelligence
Dr. Pamela K. Fink
It is beginning to pay off, but don’t expect miracles.
Fuels for the Future
Alan A. Johnston
Looking beyond current supplies, coming years will demand more efficient uses and alternative sources.
The Earthquake Machine
Creating tremors in the laboratory can save lives and property in the cities of the world.
SwRI technology helps stabilize soil.
Learning from the AURORA
Dr. Joseph N. Barfield
SwRI instruments sent into space add to understanding of the aurora and the earth’s magnetosphere.
Relying on Structures
Dr. Thomas A. Cruse
When something breaks, it’s the job of Institute engineers to find out why and what can be done to prevent recurrence.
Sophisticated Avionics, Sophisticated Testing
Walter A. Downing Jr.
Institute experts help the Air Force standardize automated test equipment
Fire in a Computer
Arthur F. Grand
Simulating full-scale room burns in a computer model highlights the complexity of fire.
George A. Matzkanin
Rising demand for quality, reliability and safety is driving NDE research to expand in scope and sophistication.
The Forces of Fluids
Large flow loop helps engineers study structural problems of flow-induced vibration.
Key to Unlocking Gas Reservoirs
A borehole television system identifies and characterizes factors affecting natural gas production.
Analysis in Milliseconds
The Institute broadens the base in automated evaluation of vital ship components for the U.S. Navy.
Of Robots and Rivets
Innovative adaptations mean big savings in aircraft maintenance.
Accelerating Lime Production
A new catalyst has important implications for major industries.
Monitoring Particles in Space
Work is launched on a new satellite to patrol the upper atmosphere
The Future of Gasoline Engines
Dr. Robert H. Thring
The need for high specific power, low cost, reduced emission levels and greater fuel economy are factors that determine the future of gasoline engines.
Winning the Woodpecker War
A new formula provides the answer to winning the woodpecker war.
New Techniques Developed for Fuel Spray Analysis
Dr. Thomas W. Ryan III
High-resolution photographs reveal previously inaccessible views of vaporization processes.
A New Probe for Electric Fields
Portable system makes it easy to obtain field strength measurements in confined spaces.
Improving the Breed
How the world’s largest independent fuels and lubricants testing organization is dedicated to improving the breed.
A versatile new computer proves as valuable on the ground as it is in space
Earth Resistivity: A Revealing Technique
Dr. Thomas E. Owen
From early use in detecting mineral deposits, this method has gone on to success in finding abandoned mines, sinkholes, and even military tunnels.