Tech Briefs

PVM Wrapper

PVM Wrapper is a software library that makes it possible for code that utilizes the Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM) software library to run using the message-passing interface (MPI) software library, without needing to rewrite the entire code. PVM and MPI are the two most common software libraries used for applications that involve passing of messages among parallel computers. Since about 1996, MPI has been the de facto standard. Codes written when PVM was popular often feature patterns of and calls. In many cases, these calls are not contiguous and one set of calls may even exist over multiple subroutines. These characteristics make it difficult to obtain equivalent functionality via a single MPI "send" call. Because PVM Wrapper is written to run with MPI 1.2, some PVM functions are not permitted and must be replaced — a task that requires some programming expertise. The "pvm_spawn" and "pvm_parent" function calls are not replaced, but a programmer can use "mpirun" and knowledge of the ranks of parent and child tasks with supplied macroinstructions to enable execution of codes that use "pvm_spawn" and "pvm_parent."

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Algorithm for Controlling a Centrifugal Compressor

Algorithm for Controlling a Centrifugal Compressor An algorithm has been developed for controlling a centrifugal compressor that serves as the prime mover in a heatpump system. Experimental studies have shown that the operating conditions for maximum compressor efficiency are close to the boundary beyond which surge occurs. Compressor surge is a destructive condition in which there are instantaneous reversals of flow associated with a high outlet-to-inlet pressure differential. For a given cooling load, the algorithm sets the compressor speed at the lowest possible value while adjusting the inlet guide vane angle and diffuser vane angle to maximize efficiency, subject to an overriding requirement to prevent surge. The onset of surge is detected via the onset of oscillations of the electric current supplied to the compressor motor, associated with surge-induced oscillations of the torque exerted by and on the compressor rotor. The algorithm can be implemented in any of several computer languages.

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Finite Element Analysis Used to Examine the Healing of Animal Bones

The effectiveness of using stabilization pins and external skeletal fixators was determined by FEA analysis. When a dog or cat breaks a bone, veterinarians often mend the fracture with a combination of stabilization devices called intra-medullary (IM) pins and external skeletal fixators (ESFs), a technique that is employed daily across the U.S. Research conducted at the University of Georgia under the direction of Dennis Aron, DVM, using ALGOR finite element analysis software, is helping to establish better guidelines for how these stabilization devices can best be used to promote healing of animal fractures.

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Model of Mixing Layer With Multicomponent Evaporating Drops

Effects of multiple chemical components are represented with computational efficiency. A mathematical model of a three-dimensional mixing layer laden with evaporating fuel drops composed of many chemical species has been derived. The study is motivated by the fact that typical real petroleum fuels contain hundreds of chemical species. Previously, for the sake of computational efficiency, spray studies were performed using either models based on a single representative species or models based on surrogate fuels of at most 15 species. The present multicomponent model makes it possible to perform more realistic simulations by accounting for hundreds of chemical species in a computationally efficient manner.

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Role of Meteorology in Flights of a Solar-Powered Airplane

Meteorological support helped ensure safety and success of experimental high-altitude flights. In the summer of 2001, the Helios prototype solar-powered uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) [a lightweight, remotely piloted airplane] was deployed to the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), at Kauai, Hawaii, in an attempt to fly to altitudes above 100,000 ft (30.48 km). The goal of flying a UAV to such high altitudes has been designated a level-I milestone of the NASA Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology (ERAST) program. In support of this goal, meteorologists from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center were sent to PMRF, as part of the flight crew, to provide current and forecast weather information to the pilots, mission directors, and planners. Information of this kind is needed to optimize flight conditions for peak aircraft performance and to enable avoidance of weather conditions that could adversely affect safety.

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Blade-Pitch Control for Quieting Tilt-Rotor Aircraft

Actively induced harmonic blade-pitch oscillations reduce BVI noise. A method of reducing the noise generated by a tilt-rotor aircraft during descent involves active control of the blade pitch of the rotors. This method is related to prior such noise- reduction methods, of a type denoted generally as higher-harmonic control (HHC), in which the blade pitch is made to oscillate at a harmonic of the frequency of rotation of the rotor.

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Solar Array Panels With Dust-Removal Capability

Inexpensive, low-power piezoelectric buzzers would be built in. It has been proposed to incorporate piezoelectric vibrational actuators into the structural supports of solar photovoltaic panels, for the purpose of occasionally inducing vibrations in the panels in order to loosen accumulated dust. Provided that the panels were tilted, the loosened dust would slide off under its own weight. Originally aimed at preventing obscuration of photovoltaic cells by dust accumulating in the Martian environment, the proposal may also offer an option for the design of solar photovoltaic panels for unattended operation at remote locations on Earth.

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