Test & Measurement


PCB® Automotive Sensors Division (Depew, NY) offers MEMS DC response accelerometers for improving the precision of low-frequency vibration and motion in automotive applications. Available in full-scale ranges from ±2g to ±200g, the accelerometers come in single-axis (Series 3711E and Series 3741E) and triaxial (Series 3713E) configurations. The units include gas-damped, silicon MEMS sensing elements. Series 3711E and Series 3713E have a hermetically sealed titanium case, and Series 3741E units have a rugged anodized aluminum housing for harsh environments.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Test & Measurement


Quantitative Analysis of Failure Mode in Adhesively Bonded Test Specimens

A fluorescence visualization technique is used. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia After adhesively bonded mechanical test specimens have been tested to failure, the failure mode must be interpreted and quantified. Areas of the adherent that are bare (no residual adhesive remains) have undergone adhesive failure. The remainder of the surface has undergone cohesive failure. The ability to distinguish and accurately quantify the relative amounts of cohesive and adhesive failure on a failed bonding surface is of tremendous importance in the field of mechanical testing, and for the development of bonded assemblies. Some adhesives (and adherents) are fluorescent, meaning they re-emit light at a different wavelength after being irradiated by some lighting source. This property allows for quantitative analysis of the adhesive failure mode (adhesive and cohesive). A digital image of the fluorescing adhesive or adherent can be analyzed and quantified using publicly available software to determine the relative areas of exposed and covered adherent surface.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Failure modes and effects analysis, Optics, Adhesives and sealants


Energy-Based Acoustic Measurement System for Rocket Noise

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Development of the next generation of spaceflight vehicles has prompted a renewed focus on sound source characterization and near-field propagation modeling. Without advancements in these areas, large uncertainties in vibro-acoustic loading estimates on space vehicles and payloads may result in structural designs that are either insufficient or excessive.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Noise measurement, Rocket engines


Mass Gauging Demonstrator for Any Gravitational Conditions

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama This concept uses an optical interferometric method to determine the density and/or pressure of the gas state contained with tank ullage. The system is similar to compression tank volume methods. By using an optical interferometric technique to determine gas density and/or pressure, a much smaller compression volume or higher-fidelity measurement is possible.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Optics, Gases, Test equipment and instrumentation


Multiport Hat Coupler for Electronically Steerable Antenna Testing

This technology provides the same performance as an anechoic closet, but at two orders of magnitude lower cost. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This invention provides a lower-cost means for verifying the scanning functionality of an electronically steerable (i.e. phased array) antenna (PAA) compared to existing methods that use a scanning probe or scanning test fixture and surrounding anechoic enclosure. This design is comprised of a standard test hat that has been modified to include additional probes located in the positive and negative directions of each scan axis. RF measurements taken from these additional probes provide an estimate of the beam-pointing angle. This solves the problem of verifying the platform-installed antenna’s beam-pointing functionality without the relatively high cost of a conventional anechoic chamber with a scanning probe or scanning test fixture.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Electronic steering control, Antennas


Neutron Spectrometer for Inner Radiation Belt Studies

The instrument is inherently robust, cost-effective, compact, and modular. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Earth’s magnetosphere offers a wealth of information on particle dynamics, acceleration, and trapping. Fast neutrons, produced in the Earth’s atmosphere by the impact of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) and solar energetic particles (SEPs), are an important but poorly measured component of the radiation environment in the inner magnetosphere. Cosmic ray albedo neutron decay (CRAND), whereby atmospheric neutrons beta-decay into protons and electrons, is a significant source of energetic protons in the inner radiation belt. Current models of the inner proton belt rely heavily on Monte Carlo simulations for the CRAND component, validated primarily by a handful of single-point balloon measurements from the 1970s.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Data acquisition, Satellites


High-Energy Instrumentation for Small Satellite Platforms

A key asset of the instrument design is the ability to measure a broad range of radiation. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Given the increased availability of small satellite opportunities either through CubeSats or the Air Force’s University Nanosat program, and the limited availability of larger platforms, it is challenging to develop new instrumentation that not only fits within the envelope of small satellites, but also addresses the diverse science applications available in low Earth orbit (LEO). While small-platform instrumentation is limited in sensitivity, the ability to populate LEO with a fleet of instruments opens new science objectives not available with larger standalone payloads. Furthermore, coordinated observations of a variety of radiation species that either enter LEO from the Sun or heliosphere directly, or that reside within the radiation belts themselves, are necessary to fully reach closure on complex processes that govern particle acceleration and transport.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Sensors and actuators, Satellites


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