Test & Measurement

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
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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
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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, Optics, Magnetic materials, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Quantitative Analysis of Failure Mode in Adhesively Bonded Test Specimens

A fluorescence visualization technique is used.

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, Optics, Adhesives and sealants
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Energy-Based Acoustic Measurement System for Rocket Noise

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, Noise measurement, Rocket engines
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Mass Gauging Demonstrator for Any Gravitational Conditions

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, Optics, Gases, Test equipment and instrumentation
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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.

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, Antennas
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Neutron Spectrometer for Inner Radiation Belt Studies

The instrument is inherently robust, cost-effective, compact, and modular.

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, Data acquisition (obsolete), Satellites
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High-Energy Instrumentation for Small Satellite Platforms

A key asset of the instrument design is the ability to measure a broad range of radiation.

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, Sensors and actuators, Satellites
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Variable Acceleration Force Calibration System

A variable acceleration calibration system combines an innovative mechanical system and a statistical design of experiments to calibrate multi-axis force transducers. This system can reduce calibration time, allow for improved calibration of large-scale transducers, provide mobility for on-site calibrations, allow multiple transducers to be calibrated simultaneously, and accommodate dynamic force calibration.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Statistical analysis
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