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A Continuous-Flow, Microfluidic, Microwave-Assisted Chemical Reactor

The reactor uses a directed 60-GHz source, which may require far less power to observe the same reactivity profiles. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California In industrial synthetic chemistry laboratories, reactions are generally carried out using batch-mode methodologies, stepwise reactions, and purifications to generate a final product. Each step has an associated yield of both the reaction itself and of the final purification that is largely dependent on the procedure being used, and the scientist carrying out the procedure. Continuous-flow reactors are one way of streamlining the process. Furthermore, microwave-enhanced, or microwave-assisted, chemistry has been demonstrated to aid in many of these areas; however, scaling has been a traditional problem with this technique.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Test & Measurement, RF & Microwave Electronics, Articles, Briefs, TSP, Instrumentation

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A Portable, Projection Focusing Schlieren System

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can be monitored using this system, especially those used in commercial kitchens and industrial ventilation. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio A new type of projection schlieren camera system (schlierenscope) is more portable, easier to align, and more versatile than existing systems. The schlierenscope is a projection focusing schlieren camera system that can acquire images of shock waves, vortices, gas jets, and other disturbances that create gradients in the refractive index of a transparent medium. These gradients appear as streaks (called schlieren in German) in the resulting image. Thus, a schlierenscope is an apparatus for looking at disturbances in transparent media. The schlierenscope constructed in the project utilizes fast strobes that freeze motion and capture images with a scientific CCD (charge-coupled device) camera. The schlierenscope is unique among schlieren instruments because all of the critical controls are contained within the instrument housing.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

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Model-Based Prognostics for Batteries

Accurate predictions can be made of the remaining useful life for individual discharge cycles, as well as for cycle life. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California The innovation provides enhanced health management routines for batteries. A mathematical model has been developed to describe battery behavior during individual discharge cycles, as well as over the cycle life. Different prognostic modes for estimating the state of charge, state of life, end of discharge, and/or end of life of a battery are provided. It employs a mathematical, rigorous reasoning framework for better understanding and representation, manipulation, and management of the various sources of uncertainty inherent in the prognostics of the remaining useful life in a battery. The models used to estimate the remaining useful life of batteries are linked to the internal electrochemical processes of the battery. The effects of load (and, by extension, temperature) have been incorporated into the models. The model is used in conjunction with a particle filtering framework to make state estimations and probabilistic predictions of remaining useful life for individual discharge cycles, as well as for battery life. The model fidelity improves when the influence of factors like temperature, discharge C-rate, end of discharge, state of charge after charging, etc., are explicitly incorporated. Model validation studies were conducted using data from a series of battery cycling experiments at various thermal and electrical loading conditions. In addition, the models and algorithms were integrated on an electric UAV and subsequently flown on numerous test flights.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

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Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center Compliance Test Suite

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland To reduce the cost of building specialized interfaces, missions can adopt Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center (GMSEC) technologies and applications. Assurances need to be made that application implementation should follow the GMSEC messaging standards. The GMSEC Interface Specification Document (ISD) sets forth definitions for all GMSEC message types.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Software, Briefs, TSP

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Application of a Physics-Based Stabilization Criterion to Flight System Thermal Testing

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland This innovation consists of a procedure and set of equations that allows thermal balance steady-state temperatures to be predicted hours before the balance is reached based on current temperature and rate-of-change measurements. This will allow tests to run faster, since thermal plateau settings may be adjusted prior to reaching an equilibrium state. Additionally, it will allow the test conductors to identify future limit violations hours before they may happen, which would increase flight hardware safety. A similar methodology can be used to predict component temperatures in flight, assuming a relatively constant sink temperature condition, which would be useful for long cool-down missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

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Trajectory Specification for High-Capacity Air Traffic Control

Automating separation monitoring and guidance would relieve human controllers of the primary responsibility for safe separation. The doubling or tripling of airspace capacity that will be needed over the next several decades will require that tactical separation guidance be automated for appropriately equipped aircraft in high-density airspace. Four-dimensional (4D) trajectory assignment (three-dimensional position as a function of time) will facilitate such automation. A standard trajectory specification format based on XML (Extensible Markup Language) is proposed for that purpose.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

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Enabling Microliquid Chromatography by Microbead Packing of Microchannels

The microbead packing is the critical element required in the success of onchip microfabrication of critical microfluidic components for in-situ analysis and detection of chiral amino acids. In order for microliquid chromatography to occur, there must be a stationary phase medium within the microchannel that interacts with the analytes present within flowing fluid. The stationary phase media are the microbeads packed by the process discussed in this work. The purpose of the microliquid chromatography is to provide a lightweight, low-volume, and lowpower element to separate amino acids and their chiral partners efficiently to understand better the origin of life.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Imaging & Diagnostics, Monitoring & Testing, Materials / Adhesives / Coatings, Optics/Photonics, Fluid Handling, Medical, Diagnostics, Measuring Instruments, Briefs, TSP, MDB

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