PLOT3D 4.1

PLOT3D is an interactive graphics program designed to help scientists visualize computational fluid dynamics (CFD) grids and solutions. Today, supercomputers and CFD algorithms can provide scientists with simulations of such highly complex phenomena that obtaining an understanding of the simulations has become a major problem. Tools that help the scientist visualize the simulations can be of tremendous aid.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computational fluid dynamics, Mathematical models, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization
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Curved Sensor Improves Image Quality Captured with Digital Cameras

This sensor demonstrates significantly sharper images and a practical approach for curving off-the-shelf image sensors.

In dark environments, it is often difficult to get a clear, high-quality image. To address this problem, a method was developed for spherically curving the flat image sensors found in digital cameras. The curved sensors could be used to create better cameras for surveillance, head-mounted displays, and advancements in autonomous vehicle navigation.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Product development
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Electrochemical Method for Removing Pollutants from Water

This method removes even extremely low levels of organic contaminants such as pesticides, chemical waste products, and pharmaceuticals.

When removing very dilute concentrations of pollutants from water, existing separation methods tend to be energy- and chemical-intensive. A new method was developed that could provide a selective alternative for removing even extremely low levels of unwanted compounds. The method relies on an electrochemical process to selectively remove organic contaminants such as pesticides, chemical waste products, and pharmaceuticals, even when these are present in small, yet dangerous concentrations. The approach also addresses key limitations of conventional electrochemical separation methods such as acidity fluctuations and losses in performance that can happen as a result of competing surface reactions.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water treatment, Energy conservation, Research and development, Chemicals
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Structural Health Monitoring System/Method Using Electroactive Polymer Fibers

Potential applications include impact, delamination, and fatigue crack sensing.

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a novel polymer material that can be utilized as a real-time structural health monitoring sensor. The material is electroactive and generates a signal in response to a mechanical force. The material is also highly elastic, which allows for a large range of measurable strain levels, and is highly durable.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Cardiovascular system, Product development, Fibers, Polymers
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Algorithm Enables Five-Dimensional Imaging in Living Organisms

This technique is faster, less expensive, and more accurate than current methods, and works with cellphone images.

Researchers use fluorescent imaging to locate proteins and other molecules in cells and tissues by tagging the molecules with dyes that glow under certain kinds of light — the same principle behind “black light” images. Fluorescent imaging can help scientists and researchers understand which molecules are produced in large amounts in cancer or other diseases. This information may be useful in diagnosis or in identifying possible targets for therapeutic drugs.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging, Mathematical models, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Diseases
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Adhesive Strength Enhancement of Shape Memory Polymer Composite and Metal Joint

This technology has applications in adaptive space structures, smart fabrics, intelligent medical devices, morphing structures, and packaging.

NASA Langley Research Center has developed technology to increase the adhesive strength between shape memory polymer composites (SMPs) and metal alloys. Shape memory materials, including SMPs, have been explored for numerous applications because of their unique shape memory capabilities. These materials can change shape and/or other properties in response to changes in an external stimulus such as stress, temperature, or an electric field.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Alloys, Composite materials, Materials properties, Polymers, Smart materials
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Personal Annunciation Device (PAD)

The PAD can be used where chemical, biological, or other hazards are present, and traditional notification means are not adequate.

Many industrial and commercial plants, government and private research facilities, and industrial facilities perform potentially dangerous processes. Automated warning and alarm systems alert personnel to dangerous or abnormal conditions inside or near a plant so the personnel may take prompt protective action such as evacuation, co-location, or shelter in place. Such automated systems include simple fire and smoke detectors that detect the presence of fire or smoke and immediately activate a connected, audible alarm confined to a specific area of a plant. Many systems include a central hub for receiving detection signals from detectors located throughout a plant. In some systems, the central hub also is connected to a network of alarms including audible alarms — both siren-like and information-based — and visual alarms, including flashing emergency lights and textual-based information screens.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications, Security systems, Wireless communication systems, Security systems, Wireless communication systems, Smoke detection, Smoke detection, Automation, Evacuation and escape, Fire detection
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Decoupled Ranging and Orientation Inversions Enable Linear and Fast Long-Range Non-Line-of-Sight Positioning

New linear solutions are significantly simpler than the previous complex nonlinear solutions.

The wireless radio positioning or radiolocation problem is of great importance in society today. Existing radiolocation systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) systems, and Ultra Wide-Band (UWB) systems use propagating EM waves and show reduced accuracy in non-line-of-sight (NLoS) environments due to propagation losses, delays, or multi-path effects. These significantly limit their use in radiolocation applications where the line of sight to the device is blocked. Examples of these are many, and include radiolocation for a device inside a cave or building, embedded underground or in a tunnel or mine, and for underwater applications, which covers a multitude of space, military, and civilian applications. In addition to these severe limitations, existing radiolocation systems using propagating EM waves enable ranging and positioning, but cannot provide precision two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) orientation sensing, which is critical in many applications where the sensor's attitude is important.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Global positioning systems, Global positioning systems (GPS), Radio equipment, Sensors and actuators, Global positioning systems, Global positioning systems (GPS), Radio equipment, Sensors and actuators
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Calibration and Synchronization of Micro-Air-Vehicle Autopilots

Conventional calibration of an inertial measurement unit (IMU) through open-loop data collection includes typical flight simulator systems that provide processed stimuli to emulate real-life flight conditions. Other solutions involve testing inertial measurement devices on a multi-axis rate table using a processor internal to the inertial measurement devices, and transferring the signals directly to the processors for determining and storing the calibration coefficients of the inertial measurement devices internally so that they are self-calibrating. Unfortunately, conventional solutions typically involve evaluating control algorithms in a computer simulation before experimentation in the aircraft occurs. This can result in unstable flight during the first few cycles that could lead to failure of the aircraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Calibration, Computer simulation, Automatic pilots, Automatic pilots, Test procedures, Aircraft
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Ultrasonic Transducer Delivery Tool

This tool can be used in any industry using double-walled storage tanks.

Stennis Space Center has the need to measure the inner wall thickness of cryogenic storage tanks without entering the inner tank of the double-walled vessels. It was proposed that an ultrasonic probe be inserted through access points in the outer wall of the vessel and delivered to the inner wall of the vessel, which would provide for at least a discrete set of inner wall thickness measurements where access points were available.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Tools and equipment, Storage, Inspections
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