Special Coverage

Distributed Propulsion Concepts and Superparamagnetic Energy Harvesting Hummingbird Engine
Wet Active Chevron Nozzle for Controllable Jet Noise Reduction
Magnetic Relief Valve
Locking Mechanism for a Flexible Composite Hinge
Active Aircraft Pylon Noise Control System
Unmanned Aerial Systems Traffic Management
Method of Bonding Dissimilar Materials
Sonar Inspection Robot System

Intercalibration of Measurements from Microwave Sensors

A study discusses a robust intercalibration technique using a well validated radiative transfer code that can be applied to the higher-frequency sounding channels for the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. Intercalibration of these high-frequency sounding channels will require good and timely estimates of the temperature and water vapor profiles. The approach will leverage results from recent improvements to spectroscopic line parameters and continuum in both the microwave and infrared regions.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Sensors and actuators, Data acquisition


Magnetically Stimulated Flow Patterns Could Solve Heat Transfer Problems

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Jim Martin and Kyle Solis have discovered a way to harness magnetic fields to create vigorous, organized fluid flows in particle suspensions. The magnetically stimulated flows offer an alternative when heat transfer is difficult because they overcome natural convection limits. Martin and Solis even demonstrated a heat transfer valve that could potentially control the temperature of computer processors. But they're not sure how and why the flow patterns occur, although clearly it's a complex scientific behavior stemming from fundamental phenomena.

Posted in: News, Physical Sciences


Laser Spider Web Sensor Used With Portable Handheld Devices

This device can be used for monitoring of greenhouse gases and tailpipe emissions, and for breath analysis. A powerful tool in understanding the role that greenhouse gasses play in climate change would be real-time data from laser chemical sensors providing concentrations and locations of key gasses. The adoption and widespread use of smart mobile phones is an ideal platform on which to create an international web of data collection devices. Because long path lengths often mean more space, many precision instruments are too large to be useful anywhere outside of a lab or test bench environment. A more compact method of achieving long path lengths is needed to advance the field of trace chemical detection.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Greenhouse gas emissions, Data acquisition


Wireless Sensor Node for Autonomous Monitoring and Alerts in Remote Environments

Networked nodes can keep track of assets such as robots, people, and vehicles.The current radio infrastructure for firefighters provides voice communications, but does not support data transfer capability for continuous monitoring of people in the field. Current radios require user interaction to perform manual voice check-in for firefighter status. A new infrastructure is required to enable continuous, autonomous monitoring of firefighters at work via a remote command and control center. The system also needs the capability to send two-way alerts in real time as early warning of impending danger to firefighters and as indication of an emergency in the field due to a downed firefighter(s).

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Sensors, Telecommunications systems, Fire fighting


Life-Detecting Radar

First responders and search and rescue teams are the primary applications. A new device detects the heartbeat and respiration of victims trapped in rubble or disaster debris, and reduces the time required to initiate a rescue. Searchers would like to distinguish live victims from those who have died recently and to distinguish humans from animals. In addition to search and rescue, there are other uses for the device that can detect multiple humans from a distance, and with material between the device and the humans.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Radar, Human factors


High-Energy Lithium Flow Cells With Sulfur Cathodes for Transportation Applications

These cells can be used for large energy storage systems. Since the entry of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries into the market, considerable improvements have been made in their gravimetric and volumetric energy densities, especially compared to aqueous systems such as Pb-acid, Ni-Cd, and Ni-MH. Sulfur cathodes have been well studied for over three decades, due to many of their attractive features such as high specific energy, abundance, and low cost. A successful sulfur-based battery is, however, still to emerge, especially for ambient temperature applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Lithium-ion batteries


Physical Causes of Extremely Low Geomagnetic Activity

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California An analysis of solar, solar wind, and geomagnetic data during the recent solar cycle minimum (2008) has recently been undertaken. It was discovered that the lowest value of the Ap index [this index is an averaged planetary A index based on data from a set of specific magnetometer stations] in the history of its recording occurred during 2009, about 1 year after solar minimum. The investigators were able to determine that it was the decrease of solar and interplanetary forcing that was causing the anomalous effect. The coronal holes, which emit high-speed solar wind plasma streams, were located at middle (solar) latitudes during this epoch of the solar cycle. Thus the full brunt of the solar wind and its embedded Alfvén waves missed the Earth and its magnetosphere, lessening the effect of the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Analysis methodologies, Data acquisition, Test procedures, Satellites


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