News

NASA Tests Green Aviation Technology

Two NASA experiments designed to help reduce fuel consumption and emissions will fly this spring on a specially outfitted Boeing 757 airplane called the ecoDemonstrator. One includes 31 small devices that will blow jets of air on the vertical tail, and the other involves non-stick coatings to help repel bugs from the leading edge of wings. Both are designed to improve the air flow over the surface and ultimately reduce drag.

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Airflow Model Could Reduce Time on the Tarmac

New research could lead to more efficient takeoffs on airport runways and improve safety. A mathematical tool was developed to calculate the flow of turbulent air produced by a plane’s wing tips — known scientifically as wing-tip vortices — when an airplane takes off. The study will assist in improving the present standards for the separation distance between planes, while maintaining safety. Mathematically calculating the amount of turbulence created by the wing tips of aircraft, particularly during takeoff, gives air traffic controllers a better method of determining how far each aircraft should be from the next.

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Computer Cooling System Could Save $6.3 Billion a Year in Electricity

A patented passive cooling system for computer processors from the University of Alabama could save U.S. consumers more than $6.3 billion per year in energy costs associated with running their computer cooling fans. The system uses convection to circulate 3M's Fluorinert FC-72 electronic cooling liquid through channels in a computer's processor, and then into a heat sink that serves as an external radiator.

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Molecules Could Harvest Sunshine for a Rainy Day

The Sun is a huge source of energy. In just one hour, planet Earth is hit by so much sunshine that humankind could cover its energy needs for an entire year if only we knew how to harvest and save it. A student at the University of Copenhagen has researched his way to a breakthrough that may prove pivotal for technologies trying to capture the energy of the Sun, and saving it for a rainy day.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Harvesting

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Electrical Power Converter Accepts Power from Renewable Energy

Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have invented a novel electrical power converter system that simultaneously accepts power from a variety of energy sources and converts it for use in the electrical grid system. The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking licensing opportunities for potential commercialization.

Posted in: News, Energy, Renewable Energy

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Researchers Create Acoustic 'Image' of Thunder

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) researchers have imaged the first acoustic signature of thunder, visually capturing the sound waves created by artificially triggered lightning.While the general mechanics of thunder generation are understood, it is not particularly clear which physical processes of the lightning discharge contribute to the thunder we hear. By studying the acoustic power radiated from different portions of the lightning channel, researchers can learn more about the origins of thunder as well as the energetic processes associated with lightning.  Dr. Maher A. Dayeh, a research scientist in the SwRI Space Science and Engineering Division, designed a large, sophisticated array of microphones to study the acoustic signature of thunder. Fifteen microphones, spaced one meter apart, were lined up 95 meters away from the rocket launch pad where the triggered lightning would strike. To image the vertical profile of the bolt, Dayeh used post-signal processing techniques and directional amplification of the data signals captured by the microphone array. The technique revealed a distinct signature of thunder generated by the lightning strike. Future experiments could allow scientists to study the probable acoustic signatures of current pulses, step leader branches, and discharge channel zigzags independently.SourceLearn about an Accelerometer Sensors Network for Acoustic Diagnostics (MASNAD).

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Orion Testing Provides Data for Splashdown Recovery Operations

The first full joint testing between NASA and the U.S. Navy of the Orion spacecraft recovery procedures off the coast of California was suspended after the team experienced issues with handling lines securing a test version of Orion inside the well deck of the USS San Diego. Tests were being conducted to prepare for recovery of Orion after it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean at the end of its first spaceflight.

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