Tech Briefs

Force-Measuring Clamps

Clamping forces can be measured easily and quickly. Force-measuring clamps have been invented to facilitate and simplify the task of measuring the forces or pressures applied to clamped parts. There is a critical need to measure clamping forces or pressures in some applications — for example, while bonding sensors to substrates or while clamping any sensitive or delicate parts. Many manufacturers of adhesives and sensors recommend clamping at specific pressures while bonding sensors or during adhesive bonding between parts in general.

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Multiple-Use Mechanisms for Attachment to Seat Tracks

These could serve as standard or universal seat-track clamps. A Seat Track Attach Mechanism (SAM) is a multiple-use clamping device intended for use in mounting various objects on the standard seat tracks used on the International Space Station (ISS). The basic SAM design could also be adapted to other settings in which seat tracks are available: for example, SAM-like devices could be used as universal aircraft- seat-track mounting clamps.

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Tool for Bending a Metal Tube Precisely in a Confined Space

This tool offers capabilities that prior tools do not. A relatively simple, manually operated tool enables precise bending (typically, within ±1/2° of the specified bend angle) of a metal tube located in a confined space, with a minimum of flattening of the tube and without significant gouging of the tube surface. The tool is designed for use in a situation in which the tube cannot be removed from the confined space for placement in a conventional bench- mounted tube bender. The tool is also designed for use in a situation in which previously available hand-held tube benders do not afford the required precision, do not support the tube wall sufficiently to prevent flattening or gouging, and/or do not fit within the confined space.

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Turbulence in Supercritical O2/H2 and C7H16/N2 Mixing Layers

This report presents a study of numerical simulations of mixing layers developing between opposing flows of paired fluids under supercritical conditions, the purpose of the study being to elucidate chemical-species- specific aspects of turbulence. The simulations were performed for two different fluid pairs — O2/H2 and C7H16/N2 — at similar reduced initial pressures (reduced pressure is defined as pressure ÷ critical pressure). Thermodynamically, O2/H2 behaves more nearly like an ideal mixture and has greater solubility, relative to C7H16/N2, which departs strongly from ideality. Because of a specified smaller initial density stratification, the C7H16/N2 layers exhibited greater levels of growth, global molecular mixing, and turbulence. However, smaller density gradients at the transitional state for the O2/H2 system were interpreted as indicating that locally, this system exhibits enhanced mixing as a consequence of its greater solubility and closer approach to ideality. These thermodynamic features were shown to affect entropy dissipation, which was found to be larger for O2/H2 and concentrated in high-density-gradient-magnitude regions that are distortions of the initial density-stratification boundary. In C7H16/N2, the regions of largest dissipation were found to lie in high-density-gradient-magnitude regions that result from mixing of the two fluids.

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Throttling Cryogen Boiloff To Control Cryostat Temperature

Consumption of liquid cryogen and electrical energy could be reduced. An improved design has been proposed for a cryostat of a type that maintains a desired low temperature mainly through boiloff of a liquid cryogen (e.g., liquid nitrogen) at atmospheric pressure. (A cryostat that maintains a low temperature mainly through boiloff of a cryogen at atmospheric pressure is said to be of the pour/fill Dewar-flask type because its main component is a Dewar flask, the top of which is kept open to the atmosphere so that the liquid cryogen can boil at atmospheric pressure and cryogenic liquid can be added by simply pouring it in.) The major distinguishing feature of the proposed design is control of temperature and cooling rate through control of the flow of cryogen vapor from a heat exchanger. At a cost of a modest increase in complexity, a cryostat according to the proposal would retain most of the compactness of prior, simpler pour/fill Dewar-flask cryostats, but would utilize cryogen more efficiently (intervals between cryogen refills could be longer).

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Software for Viewing Landsat Mosaic Images

A Windows-based computer program has been written to enable novice users (especially educators and students) to view images of large areas of the Earth (e.g., the continental United States) generated from image data acquired in the Landsat observations performed circa the year 1990. The large-area images are constructed as mosaics from the original Landsat images, which were acquired in several wavelength bands and each of which spans an area (in effect, one tile of a mosaic) of ≈5° in latitude by ≈6° in longitude. Whereas the original Landsat data are registered on a universal transverse Mercator (UTM) grid, the program converts the UTM coordinates of a mouse pointer in the image to latitude and longitude, which are continuously updated and displayed as the pointer is moved. The mosaic image currently on display can be exported as a Windows bit-map file. Other images (e.g., of state boundaries or interstate highways) can be overlaid on Landsat mosaics. The program interacts with the user via standard toolbar, keyboard, and mouse user interfaces. The program is supplied on a compact disk along with tutorial and educational information.

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Updated Integrated Mission Program

Integrated Mission Program (IMP) is a computer program for simulating spacecraft missions around the Earth, Moon, Mars, and/or other large bodies. IMP solves the differential equations of motion by use of a Runge-Kutta numerical-integration algorithm. Users control missions through selection from a large menu of events and maneuvers. Mission profiles, time lines, propellant requirements, feasibility analyses, and perturbation analyses can be computed quickly and accurately. A prior version of IMP, written in FORTRAN 77, was reported in “Program Simulates Spacecraft Missions” (MFS-28606), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 17, No. 4 (April 1993), page 60. The present version, written in double-precision Lahey™ FORTRAN 90, incorporates a number of improvements over the prior version. Some of the improvements modernize the code to take advantage of today’s greater central-processing- unit speeds. Other improvements render the code more modular; provide additional input, output, and debugging capabilities; and add to the variety of maneuvers, events, and means of propulsion that can be simulated. The IMP user manuals (of which there are now ten, each addressing a different aspect of the code and its use) have been updated accordingly.

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