Tech Briefs

Measuring Tiny Forces with Light

Photons have no mass, but they have momentum. This allows researchers to use light to push matter around. Scientists at the Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have taken advantage of this property to develop devices that can create and measure minute forces, an area traditionally underserved by the metrology community.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Materials properties, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures

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Laser Scanning Technique for Testing Fire-Damaged Concrete

Research at The University of Nottingham (UK) and the University at Ningbo (China) has found that laser scanning is a viable structural safety technique to detect the damaging effects of fire on concrete. Concrete is the most extensively used construction material worldwide with an average global yearly consumption of 1 cubic meter per person. Fire is one of the most serious potential risks to concrete structures such as bridges, tunnels, and buildings.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Lasers, Materials properties, Fire, Risk assessments, Safety testing and procedures

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3D Measurement and Visualization of Displacement and Strain Fields

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a metrology workbench for the measurement and visualization of displacement and strain fields in three dimensions. The workbench uses two or more cameras to image a specimen, and includes custom software that implements the 3D Meshless Random Grid method.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Finite element analysis, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Test equipment and instrumentation

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Eddy Current Probe for Surface and Sub-Surface Inspection

This technology can be used in aerospace, manufacturing, materials, and energy applications.NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a novel probe for eddy current sensor applications that improves detection depth and measurement resolution. Although the use of anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR) sensors in eddy current probes to improve sensitivity at low frequencies and increase the detection depth is known, the high-frequency sensitivity and small size of these sensors is less explored. This new probe incorporates two induction sources (i.e., one high-frequency and one low-frequency) and an AMR sensor; the result is improved resolution in near-surface material characterization, combined with simultaneous deep-flaw detection. Addition of a second high-frequency induction source, oriented to produce a magnetic field orthogonal to the first, allows for near-surface anomaly detection in two dimensions.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement, Computational fluid dynamics, Sensors and actuators, Inspections

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Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces

This multidimensional system detects damage to surfaces and vessels.NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) seeks to license its Multidimensional Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces technology. The ability to detect damage to composite surfaces can be crucial, especially when those surfaces are enclosing a sealed environment that sustains human life and/or critical equipment or materials. Minor damage caused by foreign objects can, over time, eventually compromise the structural shell resulting in loss of life and/or destruction of equipment or material. The capability to detect and precisely locate damage to protective surfaces enables technicians to prognosticate the expected lifetime of the composite system, as well as to initiate repairs when needed to prevent catastrophic failure or to extend the service life of the structure.

Posted in: Briefs, Composites, Materials, Sensors, Diagnostics, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Prognostics, Composite materials, Protective structures

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Wireless Sensing System Using Open-Circuit, Electrically Conductive Spiral-Trace Sensor

This low-profile inductance-capacitance sensor is suitable for small packaging.NASA Langley Research Center researchers have developed a wireless, low-profile sensor that uses a magnetic field response measurement acquisition system to provide power to the sensor and to acquire physical property measurements from it. Unique to this sensor is the shape of the electrical trace that eliminates the need for separate inductance, capacitance, and connection circuitry. This feature gives the sensor a smaller circuit footprint to enable a smaller, flexible, and easy-to-fabricate sensor package. The shape of the electrical trace can be readily modified to sense different physical properties. Also, arranging multiple low-profile sensors together can permit the wireless data acquisition system to read the responses from all the sensors by powering just one of them.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Semiconductor devices, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Product development

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Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications

This technology exploits the varying permeability of a magnetic material with ambient magnetic fields.NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a magnetometer that takes advantage of the unique variable permeability properties of Metglas 2714A magnetic material. By measuring directly the inductive reactance of a simple right circular cylindrical search coil through the application of current from a high-output-impedance current source driven with a 10-kHz sinusoidal voltage, a magnetic field sensor having a 700-Hz bandwidth, good linearity, and excellent noise performance with sensitivity at least as good as the 0.1 nTesla range was produced.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Product development, Magnetic materials, Semiconductors

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