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Stability Enhancement of Polymeric Sensing Films Using Fillers

Enhanced stability of polymer sensing films is achieved by adding colloidal fillers. Experiments have shown the stability enhancement of polymeric sensing films on mixing the polymer with colloidal filler particles (submicron-sized) of carbon black, silver, titanium dioxide, and fumed silicon dioxide. The polymer films are candidates for potential use as sensing media in micro/nano chemical sensor devices. The need for stability enhancement of polymer sensing films arises because such films have been found to exhibit unpredictable changes in sensing activity over time, which could result in a possible failure of the sensor device.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Active Struts With Variable Spring Stiffness and Damping

These struts would act as linear actuators and controllable shock absorbers.Controllable active struts that would function as linear actuators with variable spring stiffness and damping have been proposed as components of advanced suspension systems of future wheeled ground vehicles. The contemplated advanced suspension systems would include computer-based control subsystems that would continually adjust the actuator responses to obtain optimal combinations of safety and comfort under operating conditions ranging from low speeds over smooth roads to high speeds over rough, unpaved ground. The proposed struts and suspension systems were originally intended for use in military vehicles, but there could also be a broad commercial market for them in trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Ultrasonically Actuated Tools for Abrading Rock Surfaces

These offer the same advantages as do ultrasonically actuated drilling and coring tools. An ultrasonic rock-abrasion tool (URAT) was developed using the same principle of ultrasonic/sonic actuation as that of the tools described in two prior NASA Tech Briefs articles: “Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors (), Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2001), page 38 and “Ultrasonic/Sonic Mechanisms for Drilling and Coring” (), Vol. 27, No. 9 (September 2003), page 65. Hence, like those tools, the URAT offers the same advantages of low power demand, mechanical simplicity, compactness, and ability to function with very small axial loading (very small contact force between tool and rock).

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Achieving Positioning Accuracy Goals

The task of choosing the correct mix of motion control components for a successful servo positioning system involves a combination of art, science, and experience. It also includes a little luck, but luck is not needed when you fully comprehend the principle of operation, accuracy, resolution, and repeatability of each component in the system.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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CNC Wood Routers Use Drive for Precision Control

The woodworking industry is as advanced and under pressure to deliver high-quality goods quickly as any. One of the most versatile tools devised to quicken production with flat panels of wood is the wood router, used to rout (hollow out) an area in the face of a piece of wood, and used for 3D design, cabinets, sign making, molds, and general material cutting. The table-like device, similar to a metal mill, consists of a broad-based wooden hand plane with a narrow gantry-carried cutting implement projecting beyond its base plate. To guide its computer numerical controlled (CNC) ATC wood routers, WartHog CNC (Soddy-Daisy, TN) turned to YET US’s (Manchester, NH) XtraDrive servo drive system, integrating it into the routers’ precision and power controls.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Drive Utilized in Filament Respooler

Optical fiber, now the mainstay of telecommunications as well as sensor, illumination, and imaging systems, is made by first pulling a large-diameter preform into a long, filimentous fiber. Then divided into bunches, a resin cladding is applied to keep the transmital of light uncontamintated. The finished product is then wound onto large spools to await shipment to customers. Showmark (Downingtown, PA) developed the automatic UniSpooler to customize the amount of cable a customer gets based on need, and uses the Kinemax KI3-15-5 linear drive from Amacoil/Uhling (Aston, PA) to help guide filaments from the supply spool to smaller takeup spool with the desired amount of fiber or wire.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Guide Used in Leak-Testing System or Plastic Bottles

Container leaks can range from mildly annoying to potentially dangerous. To avoid faulty containers from ever leaving the production line, producers have installed testing devices as part of the bottle production process to ensure integrity. As many bottle/container manufacturing systems were pre-existing, a unit able to integrate itself into the existing production line without necessitating a long shutdown or costly re-design was seen as ideal. When Air Logic Power Systems Inc, (ALPS, Milwaukee, MI) developed such a unit, the RS-100 Plastic Container Integrity Tester, it chose the PDU2 linear transmission unit from HepcoMotion (Tiverton, UK) and distributed by Bishop-Wisecarver (Pittsburg, CA). Using the PDU2 eliminated many of the bottle handling issues that could potentially slow production by its ability to move in synch with an existing production line.

Posted in: Applications, Application Briefs

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