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Translation/Rotation Stage

PI L.P. (Auburn, MA) has released the M-110 series translation stages that provide linear motion of 5, 15, and 25 mm. Available are X, XY, and XYZ systems, which can be combined with the M-116 miniature rotary stage. The systems can be equipped with high-speed piezo drives. Features include 50-nm true minimum incremental motion, choice of lead screw drives and ball screw drives, and integrated Hall effect limit and reference switches. A choice of closed-loop DC motors and stepper motors is available. The encoder on the DC servo motor version features 0.007 micrometer resolutions per count. One- to four-axis systems are available.

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Ball Bearings

MRC Bearings Services (Kulpsville, PA) offers the R Series inch-sized stainless ball bearings for small shaft diameters. The single-row, deep-groove radial conrad-type bearings carry radial and thrust loads in either direction at high speeds. Bore sizes range from 1/8 to 1 ½", and open, shielded, and sealed bearings are available. Basic radial dynamic load ratings range from 70 lbf to 3,780 lbf and basic radial static load ratings range from 27 lbf to 2,650 lbf, depending on type. The bearings are supplied with pressed steel cages. Two-piece riveted machined phenolic or bronze cages are available.

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Motorized Stages

Prior Scientific (Rockland, MA) has added patent-pending Intelligent Scanning Technology (IST) to its Prior ProScan™ II H101A, H107, and H117, 4 × 3" scanning stages. IST allows each stage to be pre-programmed with a unique set of operating characteristics to that particular stage. The technology also allows the controller to periodically interrogate the stage and make adjustments to maintain orthogonality and metric accuracy.

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Implantable Wireless MEMS Sensors for Medical Uses

Sensors designed and fabricated according to the principles of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are being developed for several medical applications in outer space and on Earth.The designs of these sensors are based on a core design family of pressure sensors, small enough to fit into the eye of a needle, that are fabricated by a “dissolved wafer” process. The sensors are expected to be implantable, battery-less, and wireless. They would be both powered and interrogated by hand-held radio transceivers from distances up to about 6 in. (about 15 cm). One type of sensor would be used to measure blood pressure, particularly for congestive heart failure. Another type would be used to monitor fluids in patients who have hydrocephalus (high brain pressure). Still other types would be used to detect errors in delivery of drugs and to help patients having congestive heart failure.

Posted in: Briefs

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Dehydrating and Sterilizing Wastes Using Supercritical CO2

A relatively low-temperature process for dehydrating and sterilizing biohazardous wastes in an enclosed life-support system exploits (1) the superior mass-transport properties of supercritical fluids in general and (2) the demonstrated sterilizing property of supercritical CO2 in particular. The wastes to be treated are placed in a chamber. Liquid CO2, drawn from storage at a pressure of 850 psi (˜5.9 MPa) and temperature of 0 °C, is compressed to pressure of 2 kpsi (˜14 MPa) and made to flow into the chamber. The compression raises the temperature to 10 °C. The chamber and its contents are then further heated to 40 °C, putting the CO2 into a supercritical state, in which it kills microorganisms in the chamber. Carrying dissolved water, the CO2 leaves the chamber through a back-pressure regulator, through which it is expanded back to the storage pressure. The expanded CO2 is refrigerated to extract the dissolved water as ice, and is then returned to the storage tank at 0 °C.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs

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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: 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: Briefs, TSP

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