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Electrical-Impedance-Based Ice-Thickness Gauges

Compact, inexpensive gauges provide early warnings of accretion of ice. Langley Research Center has developed electrical- impedance- based icethickness gauges and is seeking partners and collaborators to commercialize them. When used as parts of active monitoring and diagnostic systems, these gauges make it possible to begin deicing or to take other protective measures before ice accretes to dangerous levels. These gauges are inexpensive, small, and simple to produce. They can be adapted to use on a variety of stationary and moving structures that are subject to accumulation of ice. Examples of such structures include aircraft, cars, trucks, ships, buildings, towers, power lines (see figure), power-generating equipment, water pipes, freezer compartments, and cooling coils.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Slat Heater Boxes for Thermal Vacuum Testing

Slat heater boxes have been invented for controlling the sink temperatures of objects under test in a thermal vacuum chamber, the walls of which are cooled to the temperature of liquid nitrogen. A slat heater box (see Figure 1) includes a framework of struts that support electrically heated slats that are coated with a high-emissivity optically gray paint. The slats can be grouped together into heater zones for the purpose of maintaining an even temperature within each side.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Cryogenic Temperature-Gradient Foam/Substrate Tensile Tester

Tensile strengths are measured under more nearly realistic conditions. The figure shows a fixture for measuring the tensile strength of the bond between an aluminum substrate and a thermally insulating polymeric foam. The specimen is meant to be representative of insulating foam on an aluminum tank that holds a cryogenic liquid. Prior to the development of this fixture, tensile tests of this type were performed on foam/substrate specimens immersed in cryogenic fluids. Because the specimens were cooled to cryogenic temperatures throughout their thicknesses, they tended to become brittle and to fracture at loads below true bond tensile strengths.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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XML-Based Generator of C++ Code for Integration With GUIs

An open source computer program has been developed to satisfy a need for simplified organization of structured input data for scientific simulation programs. Typically, such input data are parsed in from a flat American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) text file into computational data structures. Also typically, when a graphical user interface (GUI) is used, there is a need to completely duplicate the input information while providing it to a user in a more structured form. Heretofore, the duplication of the input information has entailed duplication of software efforts and increases in susceptibility to software errors because of the concomitant need to maintain two independent input-handling mechanisms. The present program implements a method in which the input data for a simulation program are completely specified in an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based text file. The key benefit for XML is storing input data in a structured manner. More importantly, XML allows not just storing of data but also describing what each of the data items are. That XML file contains information useful for rendering the data by other applications. It also then generates data structures in the C++ language that are to be used in the simulation program.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Web Program for Development of GUIs for Cluster Computers

WIGLAF (a Web Interface Generator and Legacy Application Façade) is a computer program that provides a Webbased, distributed, graphical-user-interface (GUI) framework that can be adapted to any of a broad range of application programs, written in any programming language, that are executed remotely on any cluster computer system. WIGLAF enables the rapid development of a GUI for controlling and monitoring a specific application program running on the cluster and for transferring data to and from the application program. The only prerequisite for the execution of WIGLAF is a Web-browser program on a user’s personal computer connected with the cluster via the Internet. WIGLAF has a client/server architecture: The server component is executed on the cluster system, where it controls the application program and serves data to the client component. The client component is an applet that runs in the Web browser. WIGLAF utilizes the Extensible Markup Language to hold all data associated with the application software, Java to enable platform-independent execution on the cluster system and the display of a GUI generator through the browser, and the Java Remote Method Invocation software package to provide simple, effective client/server networking.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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Advanced Software for Analysis of High-Speed Rolling-Element Bearings

COBRA-AHS is a package of advanced software for analysis of rigid or flexible shaft systems supported by rolling-element bearings operating at high speeds under complex mechanical and thermal loads. These loads can include centrifugal and thermal loads generated by motions of bearing components. COBRA-AHS offers several improvements over prior commercial bearing-analysis programs: It includes innovative probabilistic fatigue-life-estimating software that provides for computation of three-dimensional stress fields and incorporates stress-based (in contradistinction to prior load-based) mathematical models of fatigue life. It interacts automatically with the ANSYS finite-element code to generate finite-element models for estimating distributions of temperature and temperature-induced changes in dimensions in iterative thermal/dimensional analyses: thus, for example, it can be used to predict changes in clearances and thermal lockup. COBRA-AHS provides an improved graphical user interface that facilitates the iterative cycle of analysis and design by providing analysis results quickly in graphical form, enabling the user to control interactive runs without leaving the program environment, and facilitating transfer of plots and printed results for inclusion in design reports. Additional features include roller-edge stress prediction and influence of shaft and housing distortion on bearing performance.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Software for Testing Electroactive Structural Components

A computer program generates a graphical user interface that, in combination with its other features, facilitates the acquisition and preprocessing of experimental data on the strain response, hysteresis, and power consumption of a multilayer composite-material structural component containing one or more built-in sensor(s) and/or actuator(s) based on piezoelectric materials. This program runs in conjunction with Lab- VIEW software in a computer-controlled instrumentation system. For a test, a specimen is instrumented with appliedvoltage and current sensors and with strain gauges. Once the computational connection to the test setup has been made via the LabVIEW software, this program causes the test instrumentation to step through specified configurations. If the user is satisfied with the test results as displayed by the software, the user activates an icon on a front-panel display, causing the raw current, voltage, and strain data to be digitized and saved. The data are also put into a spreadsheet and can be plotted on a graph. Graphical displays are saved in an image file for future reference. The program also computes and displays the power and the phase angle between voltage and current.

Posted in: Software, Briefs, TSP

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