Tech Briefs

Fibrous-Ceramic/Aerogel Composite Insulating Tiles

The best features of aerogels and fibrous ceramics are exploited. Fibrous-ceramic/aerogel composite tiles have been invented to afford combinations of thermal-insulation and mechanical properties superior to those attainable by making tiles of fibrous ceramics alone or aerogels alone. These lightweight tiles can be tailored to a variety of applications that range from insulating cryogenic tanks to protecting spacecraft against reentry heating.

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Urethane/Silicone Adhesives for Bonding Flexing Metal Parts

These adhesives make strong, flexible bonds. Adhesives that are blends of commercially available urethane and silicone adhesives have been found to be useful for bonding metal parts that flex somewhat during use. These urethane/silicone adhesives are formulated for the specific metal parts to be bonded. The bonds formed by these adhesives have peel and shear strengths greater than those of bonds formed by double-sided tapes and by other adhesives, including epoxies and neat silicones. In addition, unlike the bonds formed by epoxies, the bonds formed by these adhesives retain flexibility.

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Windows®-Based Software Models Cyclic Oxidation Behavior

Oxidation of high-temperature aerospace materials is a universal issue for combustion-path components in turbine or rocket engines. In addition to the question of the consumption of material due to growth of protective scale at use temperatures, there is also the question of cyclic effects and spallation of scale on cooldown. The spallation results in the removal of part of the protective oxide in a discontinuous step and thereby opens the way for more rapid oxidation upon reheating. In experiments, cyclic oxidation behavior is most commonly characterized by measuring changes in weight during extended time intervals that include hundreds or thousands of heating and cooling cycles. Weight gains occurring during isothermal scale-growth processes have been well characterized as being parabolic or nearly parabolic functions of time because diffusion controls reaction rates. In contrast, the net weight change in cyclic oxidation is the sum of the effects of the growth and spallation of scale. Typically, the net weight gain in cyclic oxidation is determined only empirically (that is, by measurement), with no unique or straightforward mathematical connection to either the rate of growth or the amount of metal consumed. Thus, there is a need for mathematical modeling to infer spallation mechanisms.

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Software for Analyzing Sequences of Flow-Related Images

Spotlight is a computer program for analysis of sequences of images generated in combustion and fluid physics experiments. Spotlight can perform analysis of a single image in an interactive mode or a sequence of images in an automated fashion. The primary type of analysis is tracking of positions of objects over sequences of frames. Features and objects that are typically tracked include flame fronts, particles, droplets, and fluid interfaces. Spotlight automates the analysis of object parameters, such as centroid position, velocity, acceleration, size, shape, intensity, and color. Images can be processed to enhance them before statistical and measurement operations are performed. An unlimited number of objects can be analyzed simultaneously. Spotlight saves results of analyses in a text file that can be exported to other programs for graphing or further analysis. Spotlight is a graphical-user-interface-based program that at present can be executed on Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. A version that runs on Macintosh computers is being considered.

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Waste-Heat-Driven Cooling Using Complex Compound Sorbents

Development of improved sorbents revives a long-neglected heat-pump concept. Improved complex-compound sorption pumps are undergoing development for use as prime movers in heat-pump systems for cooling and dehumidification of habitats for humans on the Moon and for residential and commercial cooling on Earth. Among the advantages of sorption heat-pump systems are that they contain no moving parts except for check valves and they can be driven by heat from diverse sources: examples include waste heat from generation of electric power, solar heat, or heat from combustion of natural gas.

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Pseudoslit Spectrometer

Functioning similarly to a slit spectrometer, this instrument would be optomechanically simpler. The pseudoslit spectrometer is a conceptual optoelectronic instrument that would offer some of the advantages, without the disadvantages, of prior linear- variable etalon (LVE) spectrometers and prior slit spectrometers. The pseudoslit spectrometer is so named because it would not include a slit, but the combined effects of its optical components would include a spatial filtering effect approximately equivalent to that of a slit.

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Nonlinear FEA Analysis of Filament-Wound Composite Container Tanks

Filament-wound composites are replacing metals as the material of choice for tanks to hold liquids and gases. The composites have a high strength-to- weight ratio, making them ideal for use in aerospace and commercial ground transport. Also, the automated winding process is less expensive than other manufacturing methods for composites.

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