Sensors/Data Acquisition

Eddy Current Probe for Surface and Sub-Surface Inspection

This technology can be used in aerospace, manufacturing, materials, and energy applications.NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a novel probe for eddy current sensor applications that improves detection depth and measurement resolution. Although the use of anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR) sensors in eddy current probes to improve sensitivity at low frequencies and increase the detection depth is known, the high-frequency sensitivity and small size of these sensors is less explored. This new probe incorporates two induction sources (i.e., one high-frequency and one low-frequency) and an AMR sensor; the result is improved resolution in near-surface material characterization, combined with simultaneous deep-flaw detection. Addition of a second high-frequency induction source, oriented to produce a magnetic field orthogonal to the first, allows for near-surface anomaly detection in two dimensions.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement, Computational fluid dynamics, Sensors and actuators, Inspections

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Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces

This multidimensional system detects damage to surfaces and vessels.NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) seeks to license its Multidimensional Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces technology. The ability to detect damage to composite surfaces can be crucial, especially when those surfaces are enclosing a sealed environment that sustains human life and/or critical equipment or materials. Minor damage caused by foreign objects can, over time, eventually compromise the structural shell resulting in loss of life and/or destruction of equipment or material. The capability to detect and precisely locate damage to protective surfaces enables technicians to prognosticate the expected lifetime of the composite system, as well as to initiate repairs when needed to prevent catastrophic failure or to extend the service life of the structure.

Posted in: Briefs, Composites, Materials, Sensors, Diagnostics, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Prognostics, Composite materials, Protective structures

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Wireless Sensing System Using Open-Circuit, Electrically Conductive Spiral-Trace Sensor

This low-profile inductance-capacitance sensor is suitable for small packaging.NASA Langley Research Center researchers have developed a wireless, low-profile sensor that uses a magnetic field response measurement acquisition system to provide power to the sensor and to acquire physical property measurements from it. Unique to this sensor is the shape of the electrical trace that eliminates the need for separate inductance, capacitance, and connection circuitry. This feature gives the sensor a smaller circuit footprint to enable a smaller, flexible, and easy-to-fabricate sensor package. The shape of the electrical trace can be readily modified to sense different physical properties. Also, arranging multiple low-profile sensors together can permit the wireless data acquisition system to read the responses from all the sensors by powering just one of them.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Semiconductor devices, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Product development

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Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications

This technology exploits the varying permeability of a magnetic material with ambient magnetic fields.NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a magnetometer that takes advantage of the unique variable permeability properties of Metglas 2714A magnetic material. By measuring directly the inductive reactance of a simple right circular cylindrical search coil through the application of current from a high-output-impedance current source driven with a 10-kHz sinusoidal voltage, a magnetic field sensor having a 700-Hz bandwidth, good linearity, and excellent noise performance with sensitivity at least as good as the 0.1 nTesla range was produced.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Product development, Magnetic materials, Semiconductors

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Farzin Amzajerdian, Principal Investigator, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Since 2003, Farzin Amzajerdian has worked on the Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL), a sensor designed to support safe and precise vehicle landings on Mars and other destinations. The breadbox-sized NDL contains three lasers, a small electronics box, and lenses connected by fiber-optic cables. Amzajerdian will soon oversee the testing of the technology in California's Mojave Desert.

Posted in: Who's Who, Sensors

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Eddy Current System and Method for Crack Detection

This probe can identify outer surface damage from within the interior of installed hardware.NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a new eddy current inspection device that probes for cracks in parts of metal structures that are often inaccessible without extensive disassembly. The probe is specially designed for insertion into the cavity of a part to inspect the surrounding structure in an outward direction. For example, the probe may be held inside a large, thick tube and pointed outward to inspect the outer diameter of the tube. NASA used the probe to test for stress corrosion cracking in the relief radius of Space Shuttle thrusters without having to dismantle the hardware, reducing inspection time while ensuring the health of the structure. NASA Langley is seeking organizations that would like to license the probe to test for cracks in rocket thrusters and other metallic structures with hard-to-reach inspection areas.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Fatigue, Metals, Inspections

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Optical Fiber Sensors vs. Conventional Electrical Strain Gauges for Infrastructure Monitoring Applications

Public infrastructure, including bridges, pipelines, tunnels, foundations, roadways, dams, etc., is subject to factors that can degrade it or lead to malfunctions. These structural problems can be the result of deterioration, improper construction methods, seismic activity, nearby construction work, etc. Although electrical strain gauges have long been used for monitoring structural changes, they sometimes lack the durability and integrity necessary to provide accurate, actionable information over extended periods. The applications in this white paper demonstrate how optical fiber sensors can offer a variety of economic and performance advantages.

Posted in: White Papers, Fiber Optics, Optics, Sensors

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