Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
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GFSSP — Program for Analyzing Flows in a Complex Network

The Generalized Fluid System Simulation Program (GFSSP) version 2.01 is a general-purpose computer program for analyzing steady-state and time-dependent flowrates, pressures, temperatures, and concentrations in a complex flow network. The program is capable of modeling phase changes, compressibility, mixture thermodynamics, and external body forces, such as gravity and centrifugal.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Computational fluid dynamics, Thermodynamics

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Optically Transparent Patch Antennas

Antennas on transparent films can be bent to conform to curved supports.Optically transparent patch antennas have been invented for use in communication systems at frequencies of the order of a few gigahertz. These antennas can be mounted on windows of buildings and vehicles, on computer video monitors, on solar photovoltaic panels, and on other convenient supports; this is an advantage in situations in which the reuse of such supports for radio communication is dictated by a lack of room for adding separate antenna-supporting structures. Another advantage of the optically transparent patch antennas is that they weigh less than conventional antennas do.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, Wireless communication systems, Materials properties, Lightweighting

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Improved Thermoelectric Converter Units and Power Generators

Rugged, compact TCUs could be used to provide power or cooling in numerous applications.Improved thermoelectric converter units (TCUs) and radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) that contain them have been undergoing development for use as small, lightweight sources of electricity at potentials up to 5 V and power at levels up to 40 mW. These RTGs are intended primarily for supplying power to operate electronic equipment in outer space or at remote or uninhabitable locations on Earth; terrestrial applications could include monitoring of nuclear-waste-storage facilities, meteorological monitoring at polar locations, deep sea exploration, and monitoring of geological activity inside volcanic craters and at underground locations.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electric power, Performance upgrades, Product development, Electro-thermal engines

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Software for Parallel Adaptive Refinement of Meshes

A software library has been developed for adaptive refinement of unstructured (that is, irregular) tetrahedral or triangular meshes that define two- or three-dimensional coordinates or volume elements used in parallel (that is, multiprocessor) finite-element or finite-volume computations. This library contains a suite of well-designed and efficiently implemented software modules that perform the operations of typical parallel adaptive-mesh-refinement (AMR) processes. An especially notable one of these operations is mesh quality control, typically guided by a local-error estimator, during successive parallel adaptive refinements. Another is balancing of computational loads among parallel processors. The library is robust and is scalable to different numbers of processors. The software in this library was developed in Fortran 90, plus a message-passing interface (MPI) sublibrary. The design of this library supports code efficiency, modularity, and portability. At present, the library is in use on a Cray T3E and SGI Origin computers and on a Beowulf-class cluster of personal computers.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software and hardware, Quality control

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A 3D Navier-Stokes CFD Code for Analysis of Turbomachinery

This code can be used to model complex, multiple-path flows. The ADPAC software is a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code for analysis of flows in turbomachines. The outstanding feature of ADPAC is the ability to solve the Navier-Stokes equations for complex three-dimensional (3D) flow fields that include multiple flow paths, and the modeling of which typically involves multiple computational grid blocks. In addition, ADPAC can handle coupled calculations in which some portions of models are rotating and some are not, as in the case of the rotating blades and stationary vanes of a turbomachine. ADPAC was developed especially for use in analyzing the performances of short-duct, ultrahigh-bypass-ratio turbofan engines, both as uninstalled and as installed; however, ADPAC is applicable to a very broad range of other turbomachines and of other flow systems.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Analysis methodologies, Computational fluid dynamics

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Sensor Webs

Notable features would include flexibility of deployment, low power consumption, and low cost. Sensor webs are developmental collections of sensor pods that could be scattered over land or water areas or other regions of interest to gather data on spatial and temporal patterns of relatively slowly changing physical, chemical, or biological phenomena in those regions. Each sensor pod would be a node in a data-gathering/ data-communication network that would span a region of interest. Each sensor pod would contain two modules: (1) a transducer module that would interact with the environment to gather the desired data and (2) a communication module.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Data exchange, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Environmental testing

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Microplasmic Coating Shows High Resistance to Wear, Heat and Corrosion

An innovative electrochemical micro-arc oxidation process improves on the traditional method of anodizing aluminum and aluminum alloys.The process of anodizing, or controlled oxidation, of aluminum and aluminum alloys is more than seven decades old. The primary intent of anodizing aluminum and aluminum-alloy parts is to protect the highly reactive surface against corrosion in aqueous environments, such as humid air and sea water. Because the anodic coating can be produced in a variety of colors, painted anodized parts are used in architectural applications. Furthermore, because the anodization process produces a hard ceramic coating, many times harder than that of the substrate from which it is formed, anodic coatings are also used to protect aluminum parts from abrasion, especially sand abrasion.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Aluminum, Aluminum alloys, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Corrosion, Wear

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