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Estimating Aeroheating of a 3D Body Using a 2D Flow Solver

A method for rapidly estimating the aeroheating, shear stress, and other properties of hypersonic flow about a three-dimensional (3D) blunt body has been devised. First, the geometry of the body is specified in Cartesian coordinates. The surface of the body is then described by its derivatives, coordinates, and principal curvatures. Next, previously relatively simple equations are used to find, for each desired combination of angle of attack and meridional angle, a scaling factor and the shape of an equivalent axisymmetric body. These factors and equivalent shapes are entered as inputs into a previously developed computer program that solves the two-dimensional (2D) equations of flow in a non-equilibrium viscous shock layer (VSL) about an axisymmetric body. The coordinates in the output of the VSL code are transformed back to the Cartesian coordinates of the 3D body, so that computed flow quantities can be registered with locations in the 3D flow field of interest. In tests in which the 3D bodies were elliptic paraboloids, the estimates obtained by use of this method were found to agree well with solutions of 3D, finite-rate-chemistry, thin-VSL equations for a catalytic body.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Miniature Focusing Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer

Resolution is retained despite the reduction in size. An improved miniature time-of-flight mass spectrometer has been developed in a continuing effort to minimize the sizes, weights, power demands, and costs of mass spectrometers for such diverse applications as measurement of concentrations of pollutants in the atmosphere, detecting poisonous gases in mines, and analyzing exhaust gases of automobiles.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Measuring Humidity in Sealed Glass Encasements

This noninvasive technique helps in the preservation of valuable documents. A technique has been devised for measuring the relative humidity levels in the protective helium/water vapor atmosphere in which the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights are encased behind glass panels on display at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The technique is noninvasive: it does not involve penetrating the encasements (thereby risking contamination or damage to the priceless documents) to acquire samples of the atmosphere. The technique could also be applied to similar glass encasements used to protect and display important documents and other precious objects in museums.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Cryogenic High-Sensitivity Magnetometer

Sensitivity would be about a million times that of a flux-gate magnetometer.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Wheel Electrometer System

Two documents describe a prototype system of electrometers for measuring electrostatic fields and electrostatic responses of soils on Mars and the Moon.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Code for Analyzing and Designing Spacecraft Power System Radiators

GPHRAD is a computer code for analysis and design of disk or circular-sector heatrejecting radiators for spacecraft power systems. A specific application is for Stirlingcycle/linear-alternator electric-power systems coupled to radioisotope general-purpose heat sources. GPHRAD affords capabilities and options to account for thermophysical properties (thermal conductivity, density) of either metal-alloy or composite radiator materials. GPHRAD also enables specification of a heat-pipe radiator design with a radial location of the embedded heat-pipe condenser section determined numerically so that minimum radiator area is obtained. Alternatively, the user can specify a radial location of the heat-pipe condenser section for easier assembly with other components. In this case, GPHRAD determines the tradeoff cost in increased radiator area for this choice. A third option is to design a radiator without heat pipes, with heat flowing radially outward from the cylindrical cold section of the Stirling power system. A major subroutine, TSCALC, calculates an equilibrium sink temperature for a radiator, taking account of the solar absorptivity and thermal emissivity of the radiator surface, the spacecraft-to-Sun distance expressed in astronomical units (AU), the angle at which solar radiation is incident on the radiator surface, and the view factor to space of the radiator surface and the infrared absorptivity-to-emissivity ratio for planetary thermal radiation, if any. The sink temperature, along with the heat source temperature and properties of the radiator material, serve as inputs to the GPHRAD code, which then calculates dimensions of, and temperature distribution within the radiator for a required heat rejection load at given heat-rejection source temperature, such as the Stirling power system “cold” side temperature. The option to specify the disk tip-to-hub thickness ratio permits investigation of mass savings achieved by trapezoidal of parabolic tapering of the disk radiator design.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Frozen-Plug Technique for Liquid-Oxygen Plumbing

An established plumbing technique is extended to systems other than water pipes.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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