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Reverse Engineering Helps NASA Analyze Icing Conditions

ROMER Absolute Arm with integrated laser scanner Hexagon Metrology North Kingstown, RI 800-274-9433 www.hexagonmetrology.us While air travel is considered the safest form of transportation, research continues to better understand ice buildup and its affects on aerodynamics. At NASA’S Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH, engineers in the Icing Branch have been studying the mechanics of ice buildup since the 1940s.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Transportation, Application Briefs

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Data Acquisition System Helps NASA Improve Aircraft Crash Performance

Data acquisition system DTS (Diversified Technical Systems) Seal Beach, CA 562-493-0158 www.dtsweb.com Aircraft impact testing and hard landing tests are an important part of research for understanding crash dynamics and improving occupant safety at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. DTS small, onboard data acquisition systems (DAS) are used in many tests at Langley, since they are rugged enough to survive harsh impacts and still accurately deliver critical test data.

Posted in: Data Acquisition, Application Briefs

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Thermal Materials Protect Priceless Personal Keepsakes

Thermal protection technology used on the shuttles keeps valuables safe from fire. Most of us cannot comprehend the task of building something to withstand temperatures over 4,000 °F, but NASA can. The space shuttles endured such temperatures when returning to Earth’s atmosphere because of aerodynamic heating, or heating due to the combination of compression and surface friction from Earth’s atmosphere. For the vehicle to survive these conditions, NASA constructed a complex thermal protection system (TPS) for the exterior of the shuttle.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Articles, Spinoff

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Specifying Actuators for Cleanroom Environments

Selecting the right actuator for use in any manufacturing operation involves a host of application-specific variables, including aspects such as the required stroke length, load capacity, acceleration, maximum speed, and positioning repeatability. Add a cleanroom specification to the list and the choice of available options becomes significantly smaller. Consider these questions to help make the best choice for your cleanroom application, whether it’s for the medical device, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or semiconductor manufacturing industry.

Posted in: Motion Control, Articles

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Naval Shipyard Automates Dry Dock Operation

Pearl Harbor Naval Station and Hickam Air Force Base have grown up together around the historic port known as Wai’Momi, adjacent to Honolulu. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY), located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, is a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the only intermediate maintenance facility for submarines in the Middle Pacific.

Posted in: Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Robotic Arm

Global Specialties (Yorba Linda, CA) introduced the R700 Vector Robotic Arm that is fully assembled and ready to be programmed in the C language. The robot comes with pre-written example programs that can be downloaded to the ATMEGA64 microcontroller using the supplied USB interface and RobotLoader software. Custom programs can be written using the free open-source WinAVR software.

Posted in: Motion Control, Products

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Optical Encoders

Avago Technologies (San Jose, CA) announced the AEDR-87xx series of 3-channel reflective optical encoder devices for use in low-power miniaturized motion control systems such as stepper motors, electrical actuators, piezoelectric drives, and portable medical appliances. The devices feature encoding resolution up to 318 lines per inch (LPI), support for 3.3V and 5V supply voltage for low-power applications, and dual analog outputs interfacing directly with an external interpolator for high-precision motion control measurements. The encoders feature three channel outputs including one index digital output; a built-in interpolator for 4x, 8x, and 16x interpolation; built-in automatic LED current regulation; encoding resolution of 318 LPI (up to 1.25 um pitch); and operating temperature range from -20 to +85 °C.

Posted in: Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Products

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