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NASA Engineers Develop 3D Printed Rocket Injectors

NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector — a highly complex part that sends propellant into the engine — with design features that took advantage of 3D printing. To make the parts, the design was entered into the 3-D printer's computer. The printer then built each part by layering metal powder and fusing it together with a laser, a process known as selective laser melting.The additive manufacturing process allowed rocket designers to create an injector with 40 individual spray elements, all printed as a single component rather than manufactured individually. The part was similar in size to injectors that power small rocket engines and similar in design to injectors for large engines, such as the RS-25 engine that will power NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) — the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars. "We wanted to go a step beyond just testing an injector and demonstrate how 3D printing could revolutionize rocket designs for increased system performance," said Chris Singer, director of Marshall's Engineering Directorate. "The parts performed exceptionally well during the tests."Using traditional manufacturing methods, 163 individual parts would be made and then assembled. With 3D printing technology, only two parts were required, saving time and money and allowing engineers to build parts that enhance rocket engine performance and are less prone to failure.Source Also: Learn about the Peregrine 100-km Sounding Rocket Project.

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Researchers Create See-Through Solar Concentrator

A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window.The device is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones and any other device that has a clear surface.And, according to Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering, the key word is “transparent.”The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight.The “glowing” infrared light is guided to the edge of the plastic where it is converted to electricity by thin strips of photovoltaic solar cells.“Because the materials do not absorb or emit light in the visible spectrum, they look exceptionally transparent to the human eye,” said Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering.SourceAlso: Learn about High-Efficiency Nested Hall Thrusters for Robotic Solar System Exploration.

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Coming Soon - Piezoelectric Simulations with COMSOL Multiphysics

Piezoelectric materials are integral to the design of sensors, transducers, resonators, and actuators. This webinar introduces the simulation and modeling of such devices, which benefits the design process by enabling better understanding of the interactions between structural, piezoelectric, and conductive or dielectric materials.

Posted in: Upcoming Webinars

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Rad-Hard PM Optical Fibers for Space Gyro Application

              Optical fiber gyroscopes for space require a small form (for tight winding), small beat length (for high extinguishing ratio) and radiation hardness. Here we demonstrate an optical fiber specialized for space gyro applications, combining our expertise in optical waveguide design, optical material design and manufacture, optical measurement, and modeling of complex degradation and failure phenomena.

Posted in: Tech Talks

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Electronic Noses Detect Chemical Warfare Gases

Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia have developed a prototype electronic "nose" for the detection of chemical warfare gases, mainly nerve gas, such as Sarin, Soman, and Tabun.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Electronics, Sensors, Detectors, Data Acquisition, Defense, News

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What Limits Computers From Getting Smaller and More Powerful?

Computers have radically transformed industry, commerce, entertainment, and governance while shrinking to become ubiquitous handheld portals to the world.

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Fundamental Chemistry Could Help Extend Moore's Law

Over the years, computer chips have gotten smaller thanks to advances in materials science and manufacturing technologies. This march of progress, the doubling of transistors on a microprocessor roughly every two years, is called Moore's Law. But there's one component of the chip-making process in need of an overhaul if Moore's law is to continue: the chemical mixture called photoresist. Similar to film used in photography, photoresist, also just called resist, is used to lay down the patterns of ever-shrinking lines and features on a chip.

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