Special Coverage

Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Method of Making a Composite Panel Having Subsonic Transverse Wave Speed Characteristics

Applications include internal aircraft structures, buildings, and enclosures for machines.

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed an enhanced design for a composite panel with a recessed core. NASA designed it to decrease the radiation efficiency and increase the transmission loss while maintaining load-bearing capability so it could be used in applications such as aircraft floors. Similar to traditional composite panels, the innovation possesses low weight characteristics, but in addition, it can be used in load-bearing applications. The invention was developed for NASA's Quiet Aircraft Technology Program. The superior design of the composite panel can be used in a wide variety of commercial applications wherever honeycomb is needed and improved acoustics are desired. NASA has patented and tested the novel design, and is interested in attracting development partners and potential licensees for the recessed core composite panel design.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Aircraft structures, Design processes, Flooring, Composite materials

Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT)

The Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) is a software system that dynamically models aircraft performance in space and time to estimate fuel consumption, emissions, noise, and air quality assessments. Full-flight gate-to-gate analyses are possible for study sizes ranging from a single flight at an airport, to scenarios at the regional, national, and global levels.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Environmental testing, Aircraft operations

Intelligent Software Enables Design of Greener, More Efficient Construction Vehicles

University of Warwick (UK) engineers are optimizing the fuel economy of next-generation offhighway vehicles by introducing new intelligent power systems for improved engine operation. This could lead to significant fuel savings and fewer carbon emissions for the industry. The team is analyzing a current fleet of construction vehicles to better understand the opportunities for emissions reduction and intelligent control.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Optimization, Fuel economy, Fleet management, Engine control systems, Construction vehicles and equipment

Shift: Self-Healing Independent File Transfer

Shift replaces traditional sequential transfers, which are highly vulnerable to failures at every point along the path between the client and remote file systems.

In high-end computing environments, remote file transfers of very large data sets to and from computational resources are commonplace, as users typically are widely distributed across different organizations and must transfer in data to be processed, and transfer out results for further analysis. Local transfers of this same data across file systems are frequently performed by administrators to optimize resource utilization when new file systems come online or storage becomes imbalanced between existing file systems. In both cases, files must traverse many components on their journey from source to destination, where there are numerous opportunities for performance optimization as well as failure. A number of tools exist for providing reliable and/or high-performance file transfer capabilities, but most do not support local transfers, require specific security models and/or transport applications, are difficult for individual users to deploy, and/or are not fully optimized for highest performance.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Architecture, Computer software and hardware, Data exchange, Reliability

CUDA Framework for Linear Time-Invariant Control of Adaptive Optics Systems

The predictor used here is computed directly from a measured open-loop disturbance sequence using an efficient subspace identification algorithm.

Current science objectives, such as high-contrast imaging of exoplanets, have led to the development of highorder adaptive optics (AO) systems possessing several thousand deformable mirror (DM) actuators. These systems typically rely on integrator-based control architectures, where the temporal error rejection bandwidth is limited by the computational latency between wavefront measurement and application of the DM commands. In many systems, this latency is the driving factor behind residual wavefront error.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Mirrors, Adaptive control, Architecture, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Sensors and actuators

Arrayed Micro-Ring Spectrometer System and Method of Use

This miniaturized system performs rapid multi-spectral analysis and imaging.

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a novel spectral analysis system that provides rapid multispectral analysis and imaging in a miniaturized system design. Typical spectrometers make use of linear gratings with linear slits or charge-coupled device (CCD) arrays to separate and detect light in its component wavelengths to build a spectrum across a range of wavelengths. Such conventional spectrometers are difficult to miniaturize below a few centimeters. Creating an image with these systems also requires physical rastering of the light beam and detection system across an area to build up the individual data points of an image. The NASA Micro-Ring Thin-Film Spectrometer technology makes use of a microring grating to separate the component wavelengths of the light signal for detection and spectral analysis. Due to the miniaturized design obtained by Fresnel diffraction, an array of these micro-ring grating-based spectrometers can be constructed to enable extremely small-size, multi-spectral imaging of an analysis area.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Downsizing, Spectroscopy, Product development, Refractory materials

In Situ Mechanical Property Measurements of Amorphous Carbon-Boron Nitride Nanotube Nanostructures

Utilizing the full mechanical capabilities of individual nanotubes is a primary research goal in nanotube reinforced nanocomposite materials. Practical use of these nanomaterials requires creating stable and strong linkages between nanotubes without sacrificing their mechanical advantage. Cross-linking between shells via electron beam irradiation and application of large compressive forces have been studied and offer a viable approach to improve tube-to-tube load transfer and hence, mechanical properties. However, these approaches result in unwanted mechanical degradation and have limitations in scale-up for their applications to macroscopic nanocomposite materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Architecture, Composite materials, Nanomaterials

Negative Dielectric Constant Material Based on Ion Conducting Materials

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a novel negative dielectric constant material based on ion-conducting materials. A negative dielectric constant material is an essential key for creating metamaterials, or artificial negative index materials (NIMs). NIMs have generated great attention due to their unique and exotic electromagnetic properties, and could be used for unique optical and microwave applications, including new methods of electromagnetic cloaking and extremely lowloss communications.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Electromagnetic compatibility, Product development, Conductivity

Additively Manufactured Modular Thrust Chamber

Thrust chambers have historically been difficult to manufacture. They require extensive tooling and labor, and are expensive with long lead times. Thrust chambers were designed for manufacture using conventional machining. As a result, designs required multiple pieces to ensure machine tool access to each surface. The individual pieces would then be joined and assembled into a single thrust chamber. These joining operations typically required process development due to the complexity of the parts and the need for joining to provide a seal between parts. A faster, more reliable and affordable manufacturing method was desired.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Additive manufacturing, Productivity, Engine components, Rocket engines, Reliability

Resonance-Actuation of Microshutter Arrays

This innovation uses MEMS technology to selectively capture spectra of distant objects.

The field of view required for future missions is much larger than for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have created a new actuation scheme to reduce mass and complexity of the microshutters used on the NIRSpec instrument. This new development implements pulsed electrostatic actuation in place of magnetic actuation.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Product development, Refractory materials

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