Articles

High-Pressure Systems Suppress Fires in Seconds

Propulsion technology for rocket engines helps firefighters extinguish hydrocarbon-based fuel fires. Orbital Technologies Corp. (ORBITEC) of Madison, WI, has been a longtime NASA partner, working with the Agency on numerous projects, many through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. ORBITEC collaborated with Marshall Space Flight Center to develop products such as a cool-wall vortex combustion chamber that represents a new method of rocket engine design. By feeding liquid or gas oxidizer into the combustion chamber in a manner that generates a swirling vortex flow, the design confines the mixing and burning of the propellant to the core of the chamber, keeping the walls free from volatile thermal stresses. ORBITEC applied this innovation to an advanced vortex hybrid rocket engine that combines solid and liquid fuel to power a low-cost, highly reliable, and versatile propulsion option.

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Building an Immersive Training Platform for Infantry Soldiers

Developing an effective immersive training tool requires a fine balance of technology capabilities with human factors. Achieving a training goal to build squad leadership skills, squad-level communication, and mission rehearsal for an entire squadron brings together several components, including advanced body sensors that must translate physical movements, avatar actions, and high-resolution headmounted displays (HMDs) to immerse the user in the virtual world.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Imaging

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Modular Software & Metallography: Automating the Analysis Process

Today’s micro-imaging analysis software systems provide users with a module-based approach that allows imaging and measurement to be customized to specific workflow environments. This type of interface flexibility also enables higher levels of automation and standardization — facilities no longer need to rely on small groups of microscopy experts to handle their imaging and analysis tasks. Today, guided, automated functionality based on specific software modules allows larger numbers of staff members to manage the creation, analysis, and distribution of material images. These modules are particularly useful in metallography applications, guiding users through every step of the image analysis process.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Imaging

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3D Printing: A New Mindset in Product Design

What is 3D Printing? The terms “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing” refer to processes that automatically build objects layer-by-layer from computer data. The technology is already well used in many sectors including transportation, healthcare, military, and education. Uses include buildingconcept models, functional prototypes, factory tooling (such as molds and robotarm ends), and even finished goods (such as aircraft internal components). The aerospace and medical industries in particular have developed advanced applications for 3D printing. 3D printing is sometimes referred to as “rapid prototyping,” but this term does not encompass all current uses for the technology. Materials used in 3D printing include resins, plastics, and, in some cases, metal.

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Optical Thin Films on Complex Substrate Geometries

Anext-generation low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) optical thin film coating process is permitting the manufacture of interference filter coatings, such as single wavelength, dual band and broadband AR, cold mirror, dichroic, and conductive. The enhanced thin film IsoDyn™ process, designed by Deposition Sciences, Inc. (DSI) is now being used to produce conformal coatings on complex substrate geometries. This capability allows for a myriad of new applications that may require uniform, multilayer coatings on complex shapes, ranging from simple ball lenses to almost any imaginable optical shape.

Posted in: Features, Photonics, Articles

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Software Programs Derive Measurements from Photographs

NASA software designed for accident investigation finds new uses. Following the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board spent nearly seven months examining the cause of the accident. To this end, investigators performed an extensive review down five analytic paths: aerodynamic, thermodynamic, sensor data timeline, debris reconstruction, and imaging.

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Looking Under the Hood of a Military Power Supply

There are power supplies in virtually every military electronic system. These ubiquitous devices come in all sizes and power ratings. And just like their commercial counterparts, they are available in the AC/DC, DC/DC and DC/AC configurations that provide the appropriate electrical energy to operate the electronics.

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