Articles

From Aircraft Wings to Wind Turbine Blades: NASA Software Comes Back to Earth with Green Energy Applications

You might think a wind turbine would have more in common with a plane’s propeller than an aircraft wing, but wind blades actually behave a lot more like wings than props. This fact has enabled a valuable spinoff from aerospace to wind energy involving the first software that NASA ever allowed to be commercialized as part of the Agency’s ongoing effort to transfer technology to U.S. business and industry.

Posted in: Features, GDM, Articles, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Wind Power

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Imagery in Motion: Advances in Ultra-High-Speed Cameras

Ultra-high-speed framing cameras have long been the workhorse for acquiring elusive data in scientific fields where very fast phenomena are studied, such as high-voltage discharge, crack propagation, detonics, and impact studies. Today these cameras are also increasingly used in the fields of biomedicine, nanotechnology, and space research, where the ability to “freeze” the motion using very short exposure times (typically rates of 500,000 frames per second or more) gives access to valuable new information.

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3D Displays Emerge and Immerse

The first 3D immersive environments, consisting of rudimentary software, projection, and display technologies, appeared two or more decades ago, but the past five years have seen a dramatic increase in the power and versatility of these projection and display environments.

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Global Car Platforms: Automotive Design With the World in Mind

Hours before most commuters start their engines and head to work, James Hughes is already calling the other side of the world from his office in Dearborn, MI. Because of a six-hour time difference between most of his engineering sites abroad, including the Ford Merkenich small car center in Cologne, Germany, many of his meetings begin prior to 6 am ET.

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Create the Future Design Contest Winners: Where Are They Now?

The Create the Future Design Contest was launched in 2002 by the publishers of NASA Tech Briefs to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation. The competition has attracted more than 7,000 product design ideas that have the potential to change the way we live and work. As the 2011 contest opens for entries this month (enter at www.createthefuture2011.com), we caught up with a few past winners to learn now their inventions have advanced. Integrated Motor/PumpDavid Torrey of Advanced Energy Conversion (AEC) was the Grand Prize winner in the 2006 Create the Future contest. The integrated fluid pump is an important element in advancing the state of the art in fluid handling for high-performance applications such as the transportation and fuel cell areas. The mixed-flow pump design provides a power-dense electric machine that improves thermal performance of the electric motor due to direct liquid cooling of the windings.

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Software Development and Integration Services Support NASA Simulation and Flight Research

Software and hardware design, development, and testingUnisysBlue Bell, PA215-986-4011www.unisys.comNASA has chosen Unisys to provide application development and systems integration services to support the simulation and flight research projects at the NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, VA. The Langley Simulation and Aircraft Technical Services contract has a three-year base period, with one two-year option, exercisable at the discretion of the government. This award extends the company’s 35-year relationship with NASA.

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Diagnostic Models for Failure Analysis and Operations

Diagnostic models provide significant analytical and operational benefits to improve the dependability and efficiency of NASA systems.The Constellation Program and the Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) funded the development of diagnostic models using the TEAMS (Testability Engineering and Maintenance System) tool for the Ares, Orion, and Ground Operations Projects to demonstrate operational uses for ground processing and launch operations. These models were found useful not only for operational pre-launch checkout, but also for analysis of failure effects, failure detection coverage, and fault isolation effectiveness. TEAMS, a commercial model-based tool from Qualtech Systems, Inc. (East Hartford, CT), performs fault diagnostics (isolation and identification). Fault isolation means identifying the location of the fault (cause) that is compromising system functions. Fault identification means identifying the failure mode (mechanism) that is causing system failure. Diagnostics refers to both fault isolation and identification functions.

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