Articles

Cool and Green: Vehicle Thermal Management

Air conditioning is a ‘must-have’ for most new cars. But the fluorocarbon refrigerant HFC-134a – the global standard – is one of the ozone-depleting greenhouse gases causing global warming. With these concerns, the European Union has passed regulations phasing out the compound beginning in 2011 and mandating the use of alternatives with less environmental impact.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Greenhouse Gases

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Microinverters Are Launching a Solar Renewable Revolution

Given that solar-photovoltaic (PV) generating technology has been around for decades, one might think its general application in commercial and consumer circles might be a little more pervasive. After all, it is clean, safe, and relatively simple. Ask any expert and it’s likely you’ll get a litany of reasons why it has not gained more general acceptance — implementation costs, tricky installation aspects, long ROI, performance, and reliability are just a few. Fortunately, there is a game-changing technology — microinverters — that is ready to push solar PV’s acceptance and application past many of the current barriers.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Articles

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory

This feature is the first in a series of monthly profiles of NASA’s ten field centers located across the country. Each month, we’ll highlight a NASA center’s unique facilities, capabilities, and areas of research, as well as specific missions and projects underway at each center. If you are interested in partnering with a particular center, or in licensing specific technology, check out the More Information section at the end of each profile for contact information.Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology, is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) of NASA. The Laboratory has a wide-ranging charter for solar system exploration, Earth observation, astrophysical research, and technology development. It is located on 176 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena, CA, and employs approximately 5,000 scientists, engineers, and support personnel. JPL also operates and manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicates with spacecraft and conducts radar and radio astronomy studies.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Articles

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Laser Beam vs. Electron Beam Welding Which process works best for what?

Proponents of laser beam welding (LBW) and electron beam (EBW) welding each pronounce the singular praises of their favored technology, but often the best solution for a customer is to use both technologies together. Both processes are well suited to joining components with complex geometries, and capable of meeting the most stringent demands for metallurgical characteristics of the final assembly.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Engineering in the Cloud: From Simulation to Storage

Engineers have one very keen sense in life, and that is to ferret out usefulness from perceived buzz. Trained as such, unless we are reading the weather report, the word “cloud” sends our buzz-o-meters into an alarm-sounding red zone. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at how the cloud might apply to us. Clearly, it has taken hold in the consumer world, and has possible compelling uses in many engineering domains.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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Adhesives for Optical Assembly

Adhesives deliver excellent performance on a range of materials used to manufacture optical components, including glass, metal, ceramic and most plastics. By their very nature, adhesives allow devices to be made stronger, faster, and more cost-effectively, living up to the most basic demands of the marketplace.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Motion Control Requirements for Medical Instruments

Medical equipment motion control runs the gamut from electric wheelchair motion to heart assist pumps. This article will focus on the segment consisting of medical laboratory instruments. Even in this segment, motion control ranges from precision liquid handling and dispensing, to sample- handling robotics and automated sample storage and retrieval systems. We’ll delve into precision liquid handling and dispensing and related functions, and the interaction between the mechanical system and the motion control system. High-pole-count permanent magnet AC servo motors can simplify system design and improve system performance and reliability when mated with control systems capable of bringing out their full potential.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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