Special Coverage


Conquering the Multi Kilowatt Source/Sink Test Challenge

When testing power storage devices such as batteries, battery management systems, bi-directional DC to DC converters, you need a solution that can both source and sink power. But when working at kilowatt and greater power levels this is a formidable challenge for test engineers. This application note looks at methods for addressing this test challenge and discusses their tradeoffs.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers


Improving Throughput with your Power Supply – Hints 6 through 10

The second part of the 10 hints series looks at how you can use power supply capabilities such as seamless ranging, list mode, and the status subsystem for increasing test throughput.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, White Papers


Aircraft Engine Coating Could Triple Service Life and Save Fuel

Researchers at University West in Sweden are using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating surface layer that protects aircraft engines from heat. In tests, this increased the service life of the coating by 300%. The hope is that motors with the new layers will be in production within two years. The surface layer is sprayed on top of the metal components. Thanks to this extra layer, the engine is shielded from heat. The temperature can also be raised, which leads to increased efficiency, reduced emissions, and decreased fuel consumption.

Posted in: Materials, Ceramics, Coatings & Adhesives, Motion Control, Power Transmission, Energy Efficiency, Energy, Aerospace, Aviation, Nanotechnology, News


Pocket-Sized Anthrax Detector Aids Global Agriculture

A credit-card-sized anthrax detection cartridge developed at Sandia National Laboratories and recently licensed to a small business makes testing safer, easier, faster and cheaper.Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is commonly found in soils all over the world and can cause serious, and often fatal, illness in both humans and animals. The bacteria can survive in harsh conditions for decades. In humans, exposure to B. anthracis may occur through skin contact, inhalation of spores or eating contaminated meat.The new device, which is more like a pocket-sized laboratory, could cost around $5-7 and does not require a battery, electric power, or other specialized tools to operate.SourceAlso: See other Sensors tech briefs.

Posted in: Green Design & Manufacturing, Sensors, Detectors, Defense, News


Versatile Adhesive Mimics Gecko Feet

A team of University of Massachusetts Amherst inventors created a new, more versatile version of their invention, Geckskin. The technology adheres strongly to a wider range of surfaces, yet releases easily, like a gecko’s feet.“Imagine sticking your tablet on a wall to watch your favorite movie and then moving it to a new location when you want, without the need for pesky holes in your painted wall,” says polymer science and engineering professor Al Crosby. Geckskin is a ‘gecko-like,’ reusable adhesive device that they had previously demonstrated can hold heavy loads on smooth surfaces such as glass.Unlike other gecko-like materials, the UMass Amherst invention does not rely on mimicking the tiny, nanoscopic hairs found on gecko feet, but rather builds on “draping adhesion,” which derives from the gecko’s integrated anatomical skin-tendon-bone system. SourceAlso: See other Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: Materials, Coatings & Adhesives, News


Will Jetpacks Take Flight?

The New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company has developed a commercially viable jetpack. The Martin Jetpack contains two cylinders with propulsion fans attached to a carbon-fiber frame. A strapped-in pilot uses two joysticks to control the wingless pack. The company aims to have the jetpack available for commercial flight sometime in 2014 if manned flight testing produces favorable results. Although the cost ($150,000) may be expensive for a personal vehicle, the Martin Jetpack could also be useful to emergency response and search-and-rescue teams.

Posted in: Question of the Week


Synthetic Sapphire: Extreme Performer

Sapphire, the single crystal form of alumina (Al2O3), was first synthesized more than a century ago, but the most exciting advances associated with this versatile material are taking place today. Shaped by the dual forces of application demands and technological advances in the fabrication and finishing process, synthetic sapphire is often the material of choice for design engineers dealing with extreme conditions of high temperature, high pressure and harsh chemical environments.

Posted in: Materials, White Papers