Tech Briefs

Integrated Structural Analysis and Test Program

An integrated structural-analysis and structure-testing computer program is being developed in order to: • Automate repetitive processes in testing and analysis; • Accelerate pre-test analysis; • Accelerate reporting of tests; • Facilitate planning of tests; • Improve execution of tests; • Create a vibration, acoustics, and shock test database; and • Integrate analysis and test data.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement

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Organic Light-Emitting Diode Displays for High-End Audio Systems

OLEDs improve resolution, definition, and user ergonomics.Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology comprises organic thin films that, when placed between two conductors, can serve as a display. This technology requires very little power and produces radiant, self-luminous displays that do not require backlighting, resulting in thin, very compact displays. Furthermore, they offer crystal clear resolution in any lighting environment.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences

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Using Laser-Induced Incandescence To Measure Soot in Exhaust

This system incorporates several improvements over prior LII soot-measuring systems. An instrumentation system exploits laser-induced incandescence (LII) to measure the concentration of soot particles in an exhaust stream from an engine, furnace, or industrial process that burns hydrocarbon fuel. In comparison with LII soot-concentration-measuring systems that have been described in prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, this system is more complex and more capable.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences

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Software Enables Advanced Modeling of Backlights for Flat Panel Displays

This enhanced illumination design and analysis program, called LightTools® 5.1, enables easy and accurate modeling of sophisticated backlights for flat panel displays. It can simulate the surface textures used for backlights, with built-in flexibility to vary the shape, size, and spacing of the texture elements.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences

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Thermal and Compressed-Air Storage System Provides Alternative to UPS Batteries

Three mature energy-storage technologies are combined in a new system to replace lead-acid batteries. Virtually all businesses and industries are vulnerable to electric power disturbances such as outages, sags, swells, and harmonics. These problems are less of an issue for data centers, protected behind their walls of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems. But the typical battery-backed UPS is too fragile for use in less protected environments. UPS batteries must be maintained in a narrow temperature range and fail prematurely when subjected to a steady diet of step loads and motor drives. About six years ago, flywheel-based UPS products became commercially available. These devices store energy as rotational inertia, and are rugged enough to survive on the factory floor. However, flywheels have relatively short ride-through energy and are best-suited for use in locations with backup generators.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components

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Carbon-Fiber Brush Heat Exchangers

High thermal conductance between uneven surfaces could be achieved with low clamping force. Velvetlike and brushlike pads of carbon fibers have been proposed for use as mechanically compliant, highly thermally conductive interfaces for transferring heat. A pad of this type would be formed by attaching short carbon fibers to either or both of two objects that one desires to place in thermal contact with each other. The purpose of using a thermal-contact pad of this or any other type is to reduce the thermal resistance of an interface between a heat source (e.g., a module that contains electronic circuitry) and a heat sink (e.g., a common finned heat sink).

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components

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Algorithm Determines Wind Speed and Direction FromVenturi-Sensor Data

Speed and direction are calculated from the spatial distribution of pressure readings. An algorithm computes the velocity of wind from the readings of an instrument like the one described in “Three-Dimensional Venturi Sensor for Measuring Extreme Winds” (KSC-12435), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 27, No. 9 (September 2003), page 32. To recapitulate: The sensor has no moving parts and is a compact, rugged means of measuring wind vectors having magnitudes of as much as 300 mph (134 m/s). The sensor includes a Venturi gap bounded by a curved upper and a curved lower surface that are axisymmetric with respect to a vertical axis and mirror-symmetric with respect to a horizontal midplane. One of the curved surfaces is instrumented with multiple ports for measuring dynamic pressures (see figure). The sensor also incorporates auxiliary sensors for measuring temperature, relative humidity, and static atmospheric pressure.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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