Test & Measurement

Measurement of the Mechanical Properties of Thin Film Polymers at Cryogenic Temperatures

A new apparatus uses pressurized liquid nitrogen to measure deformation.

Overview of the test apparatus for bulge testing. A laser displacement sensor is used to monitor polymer film deformation in the test apparatus. The liquid nitrogen column, used to apply pressure to the film, is contained within an aerogel-filled insulation bag.The measurement of structural properties of materials at cryogenic temperatures is a daunting task. The measurement of thin films at low temperatures is even harder. Current practices of immersing the material in a cryogenic fluid and then removing and testing it does not work due to the rapid warming of the low-mass thin film. Similarly, exposing it to a cold vapor environment, unless well controlled procedurally, does not yield data at a known temperature (the temperature of the material is unknown). Thus, gathering basic material properties of thin film materials at low temperature requires a new approach.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Materials properties, Polymers, Test procedures

Estimation of Algae Growth Stage, Growth Rate, and Lipid Content

Applications include diesel fuel production, renewable energy, biofuels, and pharmaceuticals.

This invention provides a method using light of different wavelengths to estimate freshwater and marine algae growth stage and algae growth rates as well as lipid content in standard media. Light absorption by the algae is measured for a specified light intensity in each of two or more narrow wavelength ranges, correcting for absorption in the medium without algae. The net light absorption is compared with a reference set of absorption values for the algae at different growth stages.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Biomaterials, Materials properties, Test procedures, Marine vehicles and equipment

Isotopic Biomarkers for Rapid Assessment of Bone Mineral Balance in Biomedical Applications

Advanced isotope tracer techniques are explored.

Development of new treatments for metabolic bone disease, and evaluation of the effectiveness of existing therapies in individual patients, are severely hampered by the lack of any reliable tool for quickly measuring changes in bone mineral balance in response to treatment. A new tracerless calcium isotope biomarker of bone mineral balance fills this need. When properly applied, the calcium isotope biomarker reveals changes in bone mineral balance with unprecedented speed and detail, and has the potential to dramatically improve the treatment for diseases such as osteoporosis. A complementary strontium isotope biomarker provides, with equal rapidity, information on the speed of exchange of calcium between soft tissue and mineralized compartments.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Biological sciences, Diseases, Medical equipment and supplies, Calcium

Optically Modulated Miniature Magnetometer

This instrument may replace two separate instruments that are often needed together to study magnetic fields.

The optically modulated miniature magnetometer (OMMM) is intended to replace two separate instruments (each with their respective mass and power allotments) that are commonly needed together for scientific studies of magnetic fields — a triaxial fluxgate vector magnetometer and an optically pumped alkali vapor scalar magnetometer. For all vector instruments, the scalar data is necessary for calibrating the vector data.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Optics, Magnetic materials, Test equipment and instrumentation

Every Measurement Starts with a Trigger

As today’s products in consumer electronics, automotive, and aerospace applications get more complex with every generation, the requirements on test instruments increase even more because test capabilities need to advance, while test times and time-to-market are expected to decrease.

One important requirement for instruments like oscilloscopes is the ability to detect and trigger on an event of interest within a stream of unsuspicious signals fast and reliably. The quicker a specific event can be detected, the faster a problem in an electronic design can be debugged, reducing development and manufacturing test times.

Posted in: Articles, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Oscilloscopes, Test equipment and instrumentation

Using Hardware Handshaking to Reduce ATE Test Times

Developing an automatic test equipment (ATE) system takes time, and there can be different approaches to achieve the same goal. Without the right approach, the system can become less efficient, contributing to more time spent or more resources used to complete the task.

With advances in technology, ATE systems are becoming more widely used across a range of industries including manufacturing, avionics, aerospace, military, and defense. ATE systems are efficient and can be incredibly useful, allowing quick and accurate testing that communicates across a set of devices. However, it can become a complicated task to properly set up an ATE system to achieve the user’s desired outcomes.

Posted in: Articles, Test & Measurement, Calibration, Data exchange, Performance tests, Test equipment and instrumentation

Motion Controller Automates Hydrostatic Pressure Testing

A flexible hydrostatic test system for the oil and gas industry must precisely measure a wide range of pressures. Because the items tested vary widely, most testing is done manually. A test engineer sets appropriate parameters, and a skilled operator adjusts the pumping system for the specimen under test. After the technician sets up the test, he or she is usually seated at the pressure source and controls the specified pressure. The human interaction lacks precision and repeatability; each time the test is performed, there is a variation in results. In extreme cases, the maximum rated pressure is exceeded, causing damage.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Test & Measurement, Human factors, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures, Mining vehicles and equipment

Surface Measurement

AMETEK Taylor Hobson (Leicester, UK) offers the Surtronic Duo surface measurement system, which consists of the Surtronic R-Series roundness and form tester (for bearing parts) and the Surtronic S-100 portable roughness tester with USB connectivity. The instrument uses a diamond stylus that is drawn across a part with a motorized traverse mechanism. Vertical movement of the stylus is detected by a piezoelectric pickup that converts mechanical movement into electrical signals. The signals are digitized and sent to a microprocessor for calculation of surface parameters. One-button operation produces a full set of traceable measurement results, including a detailed profile graph. Display and traverse modules can be operated as one unit or separated for difficult-access applications; Bluetooth connectivity allows wireless communication between them.

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

Carbon Monoxide Monitors

The AQM-103 series of carbon monoxide monitors from OMEGA Engineering (Stamford, CT) are designed to measure CO concentration, humidity, and air temperature. The CE-compliant devices feature a large LCD display that shows CO level, humidity, temperature, date, and time with programmable high alarm and audible/visible LED warning light for high CO concentration. This monitor is suited for indoor air quality (IAQ) diagnosis and HVAC system performance verification.

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

Electronic Micrometer

Paul N. Gardner Co. (Pompano Beach FL) introduced the Fowler Xtra-Value II electronic micrometer with a choice of measuring range, and an LCD with an inch/metric switchable resolution. A switchable resolution of 0.00005" and 0.001 mm, and an accuracy of 0.00016"/0.004 mm, are provided. Carbide measuring faces provide long life and wear resistance. A ratchet thimble applies consistent force for repeatability between users. The instrument features direct RS-232 output, and absolute and incremental modes.

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

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