Tech Briefs

High-Speed Recording of Test Data on Hard Disks

Disk Recording System (DRS) is a systems- integration computer program for a direct-to-disk (DTD) high-speed data-acquisition system (HDAS) that records rocket-engine test data. The HDAS consists partly of equipment originally designed for recording the data on tapes. The tape recorders were replaced with hard-disk drives, necessitating the development of DRS to provide an operating environment that ties two computers, a set of five DTD recorders, and signal-processing circuits from the original tape-recording version of the HDAS into one working system. DRS includes three subsystems: (1) one that generates a graphical user interface (GUI), on one of the computers, that serves as a main control panel; (2) one that generates a GUI, on the other computer, that serves as a remote control panel; and (3) a data-processing subsystem that performs tasks on the DTD recorders according to instructions sent from the main control panel. The software affords capabilities for dynamic configuration to record single or multiple channels from a remote source, remote starting and stopping of the recorders, indexing to prevent overwriting of data, and production of filtered frequency data from an original time-series data file.

Posted in: Software, Briefs

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Expert Seeker

Expert Seeker is a computer program of the knowledge- management-system (KMS) type that falls within the category of expertise-locator systems. The main goal of the KMS system implemented by Expert Seeker is to organize and distribute knowledge of who are the domain experts within and without a given institution, company, or other organization. The intent in developing this KMS was to enable the re-use of organizational knowledge and provide a methodology for querying existing information (including structured, semistructured, and unstructured information) in a way that could help identify organizational experts. More specifically, Expert Seeker was developed to make it possible, by use of an intranet, to do any or all of the following:

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Software for Allocating Resources in the Deep Space Network

TIGRAS 2.0 is a computer program designed to satisfy a need for improved means for analyzing the tracking demands of interplanetary space-flight missions upon the set of ground antenna resources of the Deep Space Network (DSN) and for allocating those resources. Written in Microsoft Visual C++, TIGRAS 2.0 provides a single rich graphical analysis environment for use by diverse DSN personnel, by connecting to various data sources (relational databases or files) based on the stages of the analyses being performed. Notable among the algorithms implemented by TIGRAS 2.0 are a DSN antenna-load-forecasting algorithm and a conflict-aware DSN schedule-generating algorithm. Computers running TIGRAS 2.0 can also be connected using SOAP/XML to a Web services server that provides analysis services via the World Wide Web. TIGRAS 2.0 supports multiple windows and multiple panes in each window for users to view and use information, all in the same environment, to eliminate repeated switching among various application programs and Web pages. TIGRAS 2.0 enables the use of multiple windows for various requirements, trajectory-based time intervals during which spacecraft are viewable, ground resources, forecasts, and schedules. Each window includes a time navigation pane, a selection pane, a graphical display pane, a list pane, and a statistics pane.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Rod/Coil Block Copolyimides for Ion-Conducting Membranes

Lithium cells and fuel cells could function over wider temperature ranges. Rod/coil block copolyimides that exhibit high levels of ionic conduction can be made into diverse products, including dimensionally stable solid electrolyte membranes that function well over wide temperature ranges in fuel cells and in lithium-ion electrochemical cells. These rod/coil block copolyimides were invented to overcome the limitations of polymers now used to make such membranes. They could also be useful in other electrochemical and perhaps some optical applications, as described below.

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Processable Polyimides Containing APB and Reactive End Caps

Properties can be tailored through choice of proportions of dianhydrides and APB. Imide copolymers that contain 1,3-bis (3- aminophenoxy) benzene (APB) and other diamines and dianhydrides and that are terminated with appropriate amounts of reactive end caps have been invented. The reactive end caps investigated thus far include 4-phenylethynyl phthalic anhydride (PEPA), 3-amino- phenoxy-4'- phenylethynyl benzophenone (3-APEB), maleic anhydride (MA), and 5-norbornene-2,3-dicarboxylic anhydride [also known as nadic anhydride (NA)]. The advantage of these copolyimides terminated with reactive groups, relative to other polyimides terminated with reactive groups, is a combination of (1) higher values of desired mechanical-property parameters and (2) greater ease of processing into useful parts.

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Liquid Coatings for Reducing Corrosion of Steel in Concrete

Structures could be protected more easily and less expensively. Inorganic coating materials are being developed to slow or stop corrosion of reinforcing steel members inside concrete structures. It is much simpler and easier to use these coating materials than it is to use conventional corrosion-inhibiting systems based on impressed electric currents. Unlike impressed electrical corrosion-inhibiting systems, these coatings do not require continuous consumption of electrical power and maintenance of power-supply equipment. Whereas some conventional systems involve the use of expensive arc-spray equipment to apply the metallic zinc used as the sacrificial anode material, the developmental coatings can be applied by use of ordinary paint sprayers.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Less-Toxic Coatings for Inhibiting Corrosion of Aluminum

It is no longer necessary to use highly toxic and carcinogenic chromates. Two recently invented families of conversion- coating processes have been found to be effective in reducing or preventing corrosion of aluminum alloys. These processes offer less-toxic alternatives to prior conversion- coating processes that are highly effective but have fallen out of favor because they generate chromate wastes, which are toxic and carcinogenic. Specimens subjected to these processes were found to perform well in standard salt-fog corrosion tests.

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