Patents Represented by Attorney Randall M. Heald
  • Patent number: 8163972
    Abstract: PCBs are removed from contaminated media using a treatment system including zero-valent metal particles and an organic hydrogen donating solvent. The treatment system may include a weak acid in order to eliminate the need for a coating of catalytic noble metal on the zero-valent metal particles. If catalyzed zero-valent metal particles are used, the treatment system may include an organic hydrogen donating solvent that is a non-water solvent. The treatment system may be provided as a “paste-like” system that is preferably applied to natural media and ex-situ structures to eliminate PCBs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 13, 2009
    Date of Patent: April 24, 2012
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Jacqueline W. Quinn, Christian A. Clausen, Cherie L. Geiger, Kathleen B. Brooks
  • Patent number: 8119238
    Abstract: A self-healing system for an insulation material initiates a self-repair process by rupturing a plurality of microcapsules disposed on the insulation material. When the plurality of microcapsules are ruptured, reactants within the plurality of microcapsules react to form a replacement polymer in a break of the insulation material. This self-healing system has the ability to repair multiple breaks in a length of insulation material without exhausting the repair properties of the material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2012
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Clyde F. Parrish
  • Patent number: 8029736
    Abstract: Nitric oxide (NO) is oxidized into nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by the high temperature decomposition of a hydrogen peroxide solution to produce the oxidative free radicals, hydroxyl and hydroperoxyl. The hydrogen peroxide solution is impinged upon a heated surface in a stream of nitric oxide where it decomposes to produce the oxidative free radicals. Because the decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide solution occurs within the stream of the nitric oxide, rapid gas-phase oxidation of nitric oxide into nitrogen dioxide occurs.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 2004
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2011
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Clyde F. Parrish
  • Patent number: 8031449
    Abstract: A short circuit protection system includes an inductor, a switch, a voltage sensing circuit, and a controller. The switch and inductor are electrically coupled to be in series with one another. A voltage sensing circuit is coupled across the switch and the inductor. A controller, coupled to the voltage sensing circuit and the switch, opens the switch when a voltage at the output terminal of the inductor transitions from above a threshold voltage to below the threshold voltage. The controller closes the switch when the voltage at the output terminal of the inductor transitions from below the threshold voltage to above the threshold voltage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 17, 2009
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2011
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Bradley M. Burns, Norman N. Blalock
  • Patent number: 7977411
    Abstract: The invention involves composite materials containing a polymer foam and an aerogel. The composite materials have improved thermal insulation ability, good acoustic insulation, and excellent physical mechanical properties. The composite materials can be used, for instance, for heat and acoustic insulation on aircraft, spacecraft, and maritime ships in place of currently used foam panels and other foam products. The materials of the invention can also be used in building construction with their combination of light weight, strength, elasticity, ability to be formed into desired shapes, and superior thermal and acoustic insulation power. The materials have also been found to have utility for storage of cryogens. A cryogenic liquid or gas, such as N2 or H2, adsorbs to the surfaces in aerogel particles. Thus, another embodiment of the invention provides a storage vessel for a cryogen.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2010
    Date of Patent: July 12, 2011
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Martha K. Williams, Trent M. Smith, James E. Fesmire, Erik S. Weiser, Jared P. Sass
  • Patent number: 7968648
    Abstract: The invention provides polymer blends containing polyhydroxyamide and one or more flammable polymers. The polymer blends are flame retardant and have improved durability and heat stability compared to the flammable polymer portion of the blends. Articles containing the polymer blends are also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 5, 2007
    Date of Patent: June 28, 2011
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Martha K. Williams, Trent M. Smith
  • Patent number: 7841771
    Abstract: Self-Validating Thermocouple (SVT) Systems capable of detecting sensor probe open circuits, short circuits, and unnoticeable faults such as a probe debonding and probe degradation are useful in the measurement of temperatures. SVT Systems provide such capabilities by incorporating a heating or excitation element into the measuring junction of the thermocouple. By heating the measuring junction and observing the decay time for the detected DC voltage signal, it is possible to indicate whether the thermocouple is bonded or debonded. A change in the thermal transfer function of the thermocouple system causes a change in the rise and decay times of the thermocouple output. Incorporation of the excitation element does not interfere with normal thermocouple operation, thus further allowing traditional validation procedures as well.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 30, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Jose M. Perotti, Carlos T. Mata, Josephine B. Santiago, Peter Vokrot, Carlos E. Zavala, Bradley M. Burns
  • Patent number: 7842639
    Abstract: A hydrogenation catalyst including a base material coated with a catalytic metal is made using mechanical milling techniques. The hydrogenation catalysts are used as an excellent catalyst for the dehalogenation of contaminated compounds and the remediation of other industrial compounds. Preferably, the hydrogenation catalyst is a bimetallic particle including zero-valent metal particles coated with a catalytic material. The mechanical milling technique is simpler and cheaper than previously used methods for producing hydrogenation catalysts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 30, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Jacqueline W. Quinn, Christian A. Clausen, Cherie L. Geiger, Brian S. Aitken
  • Patent number: 7790225
    Abstract: Coatings and methods are provided. An embodiment of the coating includes microcapsules that contain at least one of a corrosion inhibitor, a film-forming compound, and an indicator. The microcapsules are dispersed in a coating vehicle. A shell of each microcapsule breaks down in the presence of an alkaline condition, resulting from corrosion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2005
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Luz M. Calle, Wenyan Li
  • Patent number: 7790128
    Abstract: Nitric oxide in a gaseous stream is converted to nitrogen dioxide using oxidizing species generated through the use of concentrated hydrogen peroxide fed as a monopropellant into a catalyzed thruster assembly. The hydrogen peroxide is preferably stored at stable concentration levels, i.e., approximately 50%-70% by volume, and may be increased in concentration in a continuous process preceding decomposition in the thruster assembly. The exhaust of the thruster assembly, rich in hydroxyl and/or hydroperoxy radicals, may be fed into a stream containing oxidizable components, such as nitric oxide, to facilitate their oxidation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2003
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2010
    Assignee: United States of America as Represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Clyde F. Parrish
  • Patent number: 7790787
    Abstract: The invention provides new composite materials containing aerogels blended with thermoplastic polymer materials at a weight ratio of aerogel to thermoplastic polymer of less than 20:100. The composite materials have improved thermal insulation ability. The composite materials also have better flexibility and less brittleness at low temperatures than the parent thermoplastic polymer materials.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Martha K. Williams, Trent M. Smith, James E. Fesmire, Luke B. Roberson, LaNetra M. Clayton
  • Patent number: 7781492
    Abstract: The invention involves composite materials containing a polymer foam and an aerogel. The composite materials have improved thermal insulation ability, good acoustic insulation, and excellent physical mechanical properties. The composite materials can be used, for instance, for heat and acoustic insulation on aircraft, spacecraft, and maritime ships in place of currently used foam panels and other foam products. The materials of the invention can also be used in building construction with their combination of light weight, strength, elasticity, ability to be formed into desired shapes, and superior thermal and acoustic insulation power. The materials have also been found to have utility for storage of cryogens. A cryogenic liquid or gas, such as N2 or H2, adsorbs to the surfaces in aerogel particles. Thus, another embodiment of the invention provides a storage vessel for a cryogen.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 2007
    Date of Patent: August 24, 2010
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Martha K. Williams, Trent M. Smith, James E. Fesmire, Erik S. Weiser, Jared P. Sass
  • Patent number: 7582682
    Abstract: Emulsified systems of a surfactant-stabilized, biodegradable water-in-solvent emulsion with bimetallic particles contained with the emulsion droplets are useful at removing PCBs from ex situ structures. The hydrophobic emulsion system draws PCBs through the solvent/surfactant membrane. Once inside the membrane, the PCBs diffuse into the bimetallic particles and undergo degradation. The PCBs continue to enter, diffuse, degrade, and biphenyl will exit the particle maintaining a concentration gradient across the membrane and maintaining a driving force of the reaction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Jacqueline W. Quinn, Christian A. Clausen, Cherie L. Geiger, Christina Coon, Laura B. Filipek, Cristina M. Berger, Kristen M. Milum
  • Patent number: 7582271
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus utilizing hydrogen peroxide are useful to reduce SOx and mercury (or other heavy metal) emissions from combustion flue gas streams. The methods and apparatus may further be modified to reduce NOx emissions. Continuous concentration of hydrogen peroxide to levels approaching or exceeding propellant-grade hydrogen peroxide facilitates increased system efficiency. In this manner, combustion flue gas streams can be treated for the removal of SOx and heavy metals, while isolating useful by-products streams of sulfuric acid as well as solids for the recovery of the heavy metals. Where removal of NOx emissions is included, nitric acid may also be isolated for use in fertilizer or other industrial applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 2005
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Clyde F. Parrish, J. Landy Chung
  • Patent number: 7582147
    Abstract: A liquid coating composition including a coating vehicle and composite powder particles disposed within the coating vehicle. Each composite powder particle may include a magnesium component, a zinc component, and an indium component.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2005
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Donald S. Parker, Louis G. MacDowell
  • Patent number: 7496237
    Abstract: A technique for enhancing a gray-scale image to improve conversions of the image to binary employs fuzzy reasoning. In the technique, pixels in the image are analyzed by comparing the pixel's gray scale value, which is indicative of its relative brightness, to the values of pixels immediately surrounding the selected pixel. The degree to which each pixel in the image differs in value from the values of surrounding pixels is employed as the variable in a fuzzy reasoning-based analysis that determines an appropriate amount by which the selected pixel's value should be adjusted to reduce vagueness and ambiguity in the image and improve retention of information during binarization of the enhanced gray-scale image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2004
    Date of Patent: February 24, 2009
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Jesus A. Dominguez
  • Patent number: 7404938
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus utilizing hydrogen peroxide are useful to reduce NOx, SOx and mercury (or other heavy metal) emissions from combustion flue gas streams. Continuous concentration of hydrogen peroxide to levels approaching or exceeding propellant-grade hydrogen peroxide facilitates increased system efficiency. In this manner, combustion flue gas streams can be treated for the removal of NOx, SOx and heavy metals, while isolating useful by-products streams of sulfuric acid and nitric acid as well as solids for the recovery of the heavy metals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 29, 2008
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventor: Clyde F. Parrish
  • Patent number: 7400766
    Abstract: A computer-based technique for detecting edges in gray level digital images employs fuzzy reasoning to analyze whether each pixel in an image is likely on an edge. The image is analyzed on a pixel-by-pixel basis by analyzing gradient levels of pixels in a square window surrounding the pixel being analyzed. An edge path passing through the pixel having the greatest intensity gradient is used as input to a fuzzy membership function, which employs fuzzy singletons and inference rules to assigns a new gray level value to the pixel that is related to the pixel's edginess degree.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 19, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2008
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Jesus A. Dominguez, Steve Klinko
  • Patent number: 7309738
    Abstract: The invention provides polymer blends containing polyhydroxyamide and one or more flammable polymers. The polymer blends are flame retardant and have improved durability and heat stability compared to the flammable polymer portion of the blends. Articles containing the polymer blends are also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 2004
    Date of Patent: December 18, 2007
    Assignee: United States of America as Represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Martha K. Williams, Trent M. Smith
  • Patent number: 7298897
    Abstract: A technique for finding an optimal threshold for binarization of a gray scale image employs fuzzy reasoning. A triangular membership function is employed which is dependent on the degree to which the pixels in the image belong to either the foreground class or the background class. Use of a simplified linear fuzzy entropy factor function facilitates short execution times and use of membership values between 0.0 and 1.0 for improved accuracy. To improve accuracy further, the membership function employs lower and upper bound gray level limits that can vary from image to image and are selected to be equal to the minimum and the maximum gray levels, respectively, that are present in the image to be converted. To identify the optimal binarization threshold, an iterative process is employed in which different possible thresholds are tested and the one providing the minimum fuzzy entropy measure is selected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 11, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2007
    Assignee: United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Inventors: Jesus A. Dominguez, Steven J. Klinko