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Subsurface Ice Probe

Small samples of ice would be melted and pumped to the surface for analysis. The subsurface ice probe (SIPR) is a proposed apparatus that would bore into ice to depths as great as hundreds of meters by melting the ice and pumping the samples of meltwater to the surface. Originally intended for use in exploration of subsurface ice on Mars and other remote planets, the SIPR could also be used on Earth as an alternative to coring, drilling, and melting apparatuses heretofore used to sample Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Real-Time Simulation of Aeroheating the Hyper-X Airplane

Computational simulations are expected to provide for initial design choices. A capability for real-time computational simulation of aeroheating has been developed in support of the Hyper-X program, which is directed toward demonstrating the feasibility of operating an air-breathing ramjet/scramjet engine at mach 5, mach 7, and mach 10. The simulation software will serve as a valuable design tool for initial trajectory studies in which aerodynamic heating is expected to exert a major influence in the design of the Hyper-X airplane; this tool will aid in the selection of materials, sizing of structural skin thicknesses, and selection of components of a thermal-protection system (TPS) for structures that must be insulated against aeroheating.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Hydrogen Peroxide Enhances Removal of NOx From Flue Gases

Radicals from homogeneous decomposition of H2O2 react with unscrubbable NO to produce scrubbable gases. Pilot scale experiments have demonstrated a method of reducing the amounts of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emitted by industrial boilers and powerplant combustors that involves (1) injection of H2O2 into flue gases and (2) treatment of the flue gases by caustic wet scrubbing like that commonly used to remove SO2 from combustion flue gases. Heretofore, the method most commonly used for removing NOx from flue gases has been selective catalytic reduction (SCR), in which the costs of both installation and operation are very high. After further development, the present method may prove to be an economically attractive alternative to SCR.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Diode-Laser-Based Spectrometer for Sensing Gases

A diode-laser-based spectrometer has been developed for measuring concentrations of gases and is intended particularly for use in analyzing and monitoring combustion processes under microgravitational conditions in a drop tower or a spacecraft.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Scattering-Type Surface-Plasmon-Resonance Biosensors

Sensitivities would greatly exceed those of reflection-type SPR biosensors. Biosensors of a proposed type would exploit scattering of light by surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Related prior biosensors exploit absorption of light by SPR. Relative to the prior SPR biosensors, the proposed SPR biosensors would offer greater sensitivity — in some cases, enough sensitivity to detect bioparticles having dimensions as small as nanometers.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Microparticle Flow Sensor

As many as 1,000 microparticles can be identified, tracked, and counted. The microparticle flow sensor (MFS) is a system for identifying and counting microscopic particles entrained in a flowing liquid. The MFS includes a transparent, optoelectronically instrumented laminar-flow chamber (see figure) and a computer for processing instrument-readout data. The MFS could be used to count microparticles (including micro-organisms) in diverse applications — for example, production of microcapsules, treatment of wastewater, pumping of industrial chemicals, and identification of ownership of liquid products.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Pd/CeO2/SiC Chemical Sensors

Nanostructured interfacial CeO2 layers contribute to thermal stability and transfer of electrons. The incorporation of nanostructured interfacial layers of CeO2 has been proposed to enhance the performances of Pd/SiC Schottky diodes used to sense hydrogen and hydrocarbons at high temperatures. If successful, this development could prove beneficial in numerous applications in which there are requirements to sense hydrogen and hydrocarbons at high temperatures: examples include monitoring of exhaust gases from engines and detecting fires.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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