Special Coverage

Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
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

Modular Software & Metallography: Automating the Analysis Process

Today’s micro-imaging analysis software systems provide users with a module-based approach that allows imaging and measurement to be customized to specific workflow environments. This type of interface flexibility also enables higher levels of automation and standardization — facilities no longer need to rely on small groups of microscopy experts to handle their imaging and analysis tasks. Today, guided, automated functionality based on specific software modules allows larger numbers of staff members to manage the creation, analysis, and distribution of material images. These modules are particularly useful in metallography applications, guiding users through every step of the image analysis process.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Microscopy, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Microscopy, Automation, Metals, Test equipment and instrumentation

3D Printing: A New Mindset in Product Design

What is 3D Printing?

The terms “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing” refer to processes that automatically build objects layer-by-layer from computer data. The technology is already well used in many sectors including transportation, healthcare, military, and education. Uses include buildingconcept models, functional prototypes, factory tooling (such as molds and robotarm ends), and even finished goods (such as aircraft internal components). The aerospace and medical industries in particular have developed advanced applications for 3D printing. 3D printing is sometimes referred to as “rapid prototyping,” but this term does not encompass all current uses for the technology. Materials used in 3D printing include resins, plastics, and, in some cases, metal.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Additive manufacturing

Optical Thin Films on Complex Substrate Geometries

Anext-generation low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) optical thin film coating process is permitting the manufacture of interference filter coatings, such as single wavelength, dual band and broadband AR, cold mirror, dichroic, and conductive. The enhanced thin film IsoDyn™ process, designed by Deposition Sciences, Inc. (DSI) is now being used to produce conformal coatings on complex substrate geometries. This capability allows for a myriad of new applications that may require uniform, multilayer coatings on complex shapes, ranging from simple ball lenses to almost any imaginable optical shape.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Photonics, Optics, Optics, Chemicals, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Materials properties

Software Programs Derive Measurements from Photographs

NASA software designed for accident investigation finds new uses.

Following the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board spent nearly seven months examining the cause of the accident. To this end, investigators performed an extensive review down five analytic paths: aerodynamic, thermodynamic, sensor data timeline, debris reconstruction, and imaging.

Posted in: Articles, Software, Measurements, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Accident reconstruction

Designing LED Lighting for Commercial Applications

As specifiers and end users began moving away from incandescent lighting three decades ago, they started utilizing high intensity discharge (HID) and compact fluorescent (CFL) lamps and fixtures for most commercial lighting applications. The inherent characteristics of these light sources prevents them from generating effective lighting in the desired areas, which creates wasted energy due to much of the light getting trapped inside the fixture.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting

Efficient Thermal Simulation for Advanced LED Designs

A successful LED system design must be able to transfer the active device’s heat efficiently from its own PN junction to the ambient. This path includes the printed circuit board on which the LED is mounted and the enclosure and/or heatsink. The designer must confirm that housings and shrouds participate efficiently in maintaining a good operating temperature.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Computer simulation, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Thermal testing

Scientists Invent New Material for Warm-White LEDs

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are known for their energy efficiency and durability, but the bluish, cold light of current white LEDs has precluded their widespread use for indoor lighting. Now, University of Georgia scientists have fabricated what is thought to be the world's first LED that emits warm white light using a single light emitting material, or phosphor, with a single emitting center for illumination.

Posted in: Articles, News, Lighting

Researchers Identify Links Between Visibility and Safety From Roadway Lighting

Newspapers are filled with stories describing reductions and removal of street lighting in order to reduce municipal costs. Tackling the tricky questions of when and where to install roadway illumination is a challenge for transportation agencies.

Posted in: Articles, News, Lighting

Looking Under the Hood of a Military Power Supply

There are power supplies in virtually every military electronic system. These ubiquitous devices come in all sizes and power ratings. And just like their commercial counterparts, they are available in the AC/DC, DC/DC and DC/AC configurations that provide the appropriate electrical energy to operate the electronics.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers

Hybrid Stepper Advancements Improve Medical Pump Performance

Designers of medical pumps often have to deal with the challenge of implementing precise, yet low-cost motion control. For most medical pumps, there are three basic technology alternatives for implementing such electronic motion control: permanent magnet brush DC motors, brushless DC motors, or step motors. Step motors (sometimes called stepping motors, stepper motors, or simply steppers) are a solid choice for position or speed control. Steppers are inherently digital — a pulse applied to the drive electronics results in a shaft movement of one step. They are commonly used “open loop,” meaning without feedback, due to their ability to achieve the desired number of steps every time (if sized properly). The number of incoming pulses and the rate at which they are fed can be used to implement very precise, yet very simple motion (position, speed, and acceleration) control. As long as the speeds required are not too high (less than 3000 RPM, typically), steppers often offer a far simpler, lower-cost, and maintenance- free alternative.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Hybrid power, Medical equipment and supplies, Pumps, Electric motors

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.