Test & Measurement

Method of Adjusting Acoustic Impedances for Impedance-Tunable Acoustic Segments

NASA’s Langley Research Center researchers have developed an adaptive noise-reduction system that optimizes impedance in an aircraft engine. Aerospace and automotive engineers can take advantage of this innovative system that offers a superior approach to noise dampening. Advantages will be seen in improved noise reduction through all stages of the flight, including takeoff and landing. In addition, the system corrects and adapts to mechanical and chemical changes over the life of the engine liner. The technology employs a honeycomb design with a variable control backing that self-adjusts based on real-time aeroacoustics for maximum effectiveness. The technology can be readily incorporated into existing technologies and transitioned to the marketplace. NASA is seeking market insights on commercialization of this new adaptive noise-reduction technology, and welcomes interest from potential producers, users, and licensees.

Posted in: Briefs, Instrumentation, Adaptive control, Adaptive control, Insulation, Noise, Noise, Jet engines
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Nanostructure Neutron Converter Layer Development

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a nanostructure neutron converter layer that can be used for neutron detection. Neutron radiation is a significant risk in long-duration spaceflight and is also a risk in commercial aviation and nuclear reactors. This invention provides for more effective neutron radiation detection than currently available technologies.

Posted in: Briefs, Instrumentation, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Nuclear energy, Nanotechnology, Radiation, Commercial aircraft, Spacecraft
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Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Sun Safety

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) ChemCam instrument can be damaged when the Sun enters or passes through its field of view (FOV). There is no Sun cover, yet other instruments mounted with boresights pointing in the same direction must observe the Sun for scientific observations and for attitude determination. When in a Suntolerant focus range during rover motion and pointing for observations by other remote sensing instruments, the Sun must be allowed to pass through the ChemCam FOV, and when in a Sun-damage focus range for ChemCam observations, the Sun must never be allowed to enter the FOV, even after a rover system fault. Both of these scenarios depend upon knowledge of the attitude of the rover relative to the motion of the Sun. A Sun search that is guaranteed to be Sun-safe for the ChemCam, even when the location of the Sun is unknown, had to be developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Instrumentation, Attitude control, Optics, Attitude control, Optics, Sun and solar
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Small-Body Testbed

The system can simulate a microgravity environment with a wide range of terrain types and topographies.

This technology allows one to test small-body surface mobility and sampling systems in the laboratory. It is capable of simulating a microgravity environment with relevant terrain. The magnitude of the gravity, the terrain properties, and the surface system being tested are all easily modified to allow for a broad range of experimental setups.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Simulation and modeling, Terrain, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test facilities, Test procedures
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Photogrammetry System and Method for Determining Relative Motion Between Two Bodies

Highly accurate, flexible system measures relative dynamics in six degrees of freedom.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a novel method to calculate the relative position and orientation between two rigid objects using a simplified photogrammetric technique. The system quantitatively captures the relative orientation of objects in six degrees of freedom (6-DOF), using one or more cameras with non-overlapping fields of view (FOV) that record strategically placed photogrammetric targets.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Mathematical models, Measurements, Optics, Optics
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Directed Design of Experiments for Validating Probability of Detection Capability of a Testing System

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed new software that enables users of critical inspection systems to validate the capability of the inspection system. Traditionally, inspection systems are validated using various methodologies to determine probability of detection (POD). One widely accepted metric of an adequate inspection system is that there is 95% confidence that the POD is greater than 90% (90/95 POD). Directed Design of Experiments for Probability of Detection (DOEPOD) is a user-friendly software package that enables detailed analysis of 90/95 POD or at any specified confidence level. Although it was designed to validate the capability of inspection systems to find fracture- critical flaws in materials, DOEPOD can be applied to systems to locate any type of flaw as well as to validate the detection capability of personnel. DOEPOD can also be employed as the core of an NDE (nondestructive evaluation) system, and provide accurate on-demand validation of the inspection system.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Failure modes and effects analysis, Measurements, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Inspections
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Method and Apparatus for Measuring Surface Air Pressure

This technology enhances the predictive capabilities of weather forecasting models.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a novel method for long-range atmospheric pressure sensing. Based on known properties involving oxygen density, the technology is able to measure small pressure changes over a wide area. NASA developed the technology to address known gaps in the area of weather forecasting as a result of the inability to accurately detect atmospheric pressure above the ocean. Oxygen band reading can be performed remotely, most likely from a satellite-based system. The technology is particularly applicable in the area of storm forecasting.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Radar, Radar, Weather and climate, Oxygen
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HEIST Ironbird to Test Cutting-Edge Hybrid Electric Propulsion Technologies

Testbed will study the system complexities of powering an aircraft with two different power sources.

A key goal of NASA’s aeronautics research is to help the aircraft industry transition to low-carbon propulsion. Many potential power architectures for electric propulsion have been proposed, and design considerations for turbo-electric distributed propulsion have been studied. However, few mid- to full-scale testbeds have been built to validate these different architectures.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Electric hybrid power, Electric motors, Turbojet engines, Turboprop engines
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Saturn Net Flux Radiometer (SNFR)

A Saturn Net Flux Radiometer (SNFR) is being developed as part of a payload for a future NASA-led Saturn Probe Mission. The current design has two spectral channels i.e., a solar channel (0.4-to-5 μm) and a thermal channel (4-to-50 μm). The SNFR is capable of viewing five distinct viewing angles during the descent. Non-imaging Winston cones with window and filter combinations define the spectral channels, each with a 5° field-of-view. Un - cooled thermopile detectors are used in each spectral channel and are read out using a custom-designed Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). The SNFR measures the radiative energy anisotropies with altitude. In the solar channel, the downward flux will determine the solar energy deposition profile and the upward flux will yield information about cloud particle absorption and scattering. In the thermal channel, the net flux will define sources and sinks of planetary radiation. In conjunction with calculated gas and particulate opacities, these observations will determine the atmosphere’s radiative balance.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Radar, Radar, Solar energy, Radiation, Thermal testing, Entry, descent, and landing
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Applying the Dynamic Inertia Measurement Method to Full-Scale Aerospace Vehicles

Researchers have begun testing on large articles in conjunction with ground vibration tests.

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have been interested in using the Dynamic Inertia Measurement (DIM) method on full-scale aerospace test vehicles, given its advantages over traditional methods for determining the mass properties of such vehicles. Developed at the University of Cincinnati, the DIM method uses a ground vibration test setup to determine mass properties using data from frequency-response functions. The method has been successfully tested on a number of small-scale test articles — including automobile brake rotors, steel blocks, and custom fixtures — but until now, has had limited success being tested in larger applications. Armstrong’s recent efforts, in conjunction with ground vibration tests, represent a step forward in applying the DIM method successfully to full-scale aerospace vehicles.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Vibration, Vibration, Aircraft, Spacecraft, Vehicle dynamics
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