Test & Measurement

Improved Electrical-Impedance Body-Fluids Monitor

Measurements that yield a variety of data can be done quickly, frequently, and safely. The Johnson Space Center (JSC) body-fluids monitor advances the state of the art of measuring hydration levels in humans during spaceflight. Neither bulky nor heavy, this noninvasive instrument is built around a commercial inductance-capacitance-resistance meter, which is used to obtain electrical-impedance-vs.-frequency data for equivalent-circuit/electrical-components analyses. The instrument is expected to prove invaluable not only in space-flight settings but also in such other settings as veterans' hospitals, clinical facilities, and medical research laboratories.

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Apparatus Measures Thermal Conductance Through a Thin Sample From Cryogenic to Room Temperature

An apparatus allows the measurement of the thermal conductance across a thin sample clamped between metal plates, including thermal boundary resistances. It allows in-situ variation of the clamping force from zero to 30 lb (133.4 N), and variation of the sample temperature between 40 and 300 K. It has a special design feature that minimizes the effect of thermal radiation on this measurement.

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Small-Bolt Torque-Tension Tester

Bolts as small as #0–80 can be tested. Current torque-tension measurement techniques involve using load washers as the force measuring transducer. The disadvantage of load washers is that they are too large to be used with fasteners smaller than about size #8. The device described here measures the torque-tension relationship for fasteners as small as #0.

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Desktop Application Program To Simulate Cargo-Air-Drop Tests

The DSS Application is a computer program comprising a Windows version of the UNIX-based Decelerator System Simulation (DSS) coupled with an Excel front end. The DSS is an executable code that simulates the dynamics of air-dropped cargo from first motion in an aircraft through landing. The bare DSS is difficult to use; the front end makes it easy to use. All inputs to the DSS, control of execution of the DSS, and postprocessing and plotting of outputs are handled in the front end. The front end is graphics-intensive.

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Rover Attitude and Pointing System Simulation Testbed

The MER (Mars Exploration Rover) Attitude and Pointing System Simulation Testbed Environment (RAPSSTER) provides a simulation platform used for the development and test of GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) flight algorithm designs for the Mars rovers, which was specifically tailored to the MERs, but has since been used in the development of rover algorithms for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) as well.

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Multimodal Friction Ignition Tester

Responses of material specimens to vibrational friction in pressurized oxygen are recorded. The multimodal friction ignition tester (MFIT) is a testbed for experiments on the thermal and mechanical effects of friction on material specimens in pressurized, oxygen-rich atmospheres. In simplest terms, a test involves recording sensory data while rubbing two specimens against each other at a controlled normal force, with either a random stroke or a sinusoidal stroke having controlled amplitude and frequency. The term “multimodal” in the full name of the apparatus refers to a capability for imposing any combination of widely ranging values of the atmospheric pressure, atmospheric oxygen content, stroke length, stroke frequency, and normal force. The MFIT was designed especially for studying the tendency toward heating and combustion of nonmetallic composite materials and the fretting of metals subjected to dynamic (vibrational) friction forces in the presence of liquid oxygen or pressurized gaseous oxygen — test conditions approximating conditions expected to be encountered in proposed composite-material oxygen tanks aboard aircraft and spacecraft in flight.

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Cryogenic Chamber for Servo-Hydraulic Materials Testing

A compact cryogenic test chamber can be cooled to approximately 5 to 6 Kelvin for materials testing. The system includes a temperature controller and multiple sensors to measure specimen temperature at different locations. The testing chamber provides a fast and easy method to perform materials testing at lower than liquid nitrogen temperature (77 K). The advantage of this chamber is that lower than 77 K temperatures are achievable, and the temperature can be controlled and stabilized during a test.

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