Special Coverage

How Model Rockets Launch Tomorrow's Engineers
Lost in Space: Smart Spacesuits Feature 'Home' Button
With a Commercial Printer, Researchers Manufacture Motion Sensors in Bulk
NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Is It Hot in Here? New Double-Sided Fabric Will Find Your 'Comfortable' Temperature
Sound-Off: Thermoset Composites vs. Traditional Metals
Electric ‘Smart’ Paper Picks Up on Pipe Leaks
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
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

Novel Design of an Orifice Control Element

An orifice element is commonly used in liquid rocket engine test facilities either as a flow metering device, a damper for acoustic resonance, or to provide a large reduction in pressure over a very small distance in the piping system. The orifice as a device is largely effective in stepping down pressure; however, it is also susceptible to a wake-vortex instability that generates pressure fluctuations that propagate downstream and interact with other elements of the test facility, resulting in structural vibrations. Exacerbating the situation in cryogenic test facilities is the possibility of the formation of vapor clouds when the pressure in the wake falls below the vapor pressure, leading to cavitation. Cavitation has the potential for highamplitude fluctuations that can cause catastrophic damage to a facility.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Products of Tomorrow: December 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Articles, Defense, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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Forward Voltage Short-Pulse Technique for Measuring High-Power Laser Diode Array Junction Temperature

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a new technology for measuring the junction temperature of laser diode arrays (LDAs) that can support dramatically improved LDA fault analysis and lifetime estimates. This technology provides better spatial and temporal resolution than spectral chirp or thermal imaging methods, and can be integrated into existing LDA systems, such as laser diode drivers, without significant additional costs (including weight, power, and space). Potential applications include quality control and screening of LDAs for maximum lifetime, optimizing development of operational parameters, or providing real-time operational diagnostics/prognostics.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement
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How Multiphysics Simulation and App Deployment Boost Product Design

As new concepts need to be investigated, and a wide range of operating conditions has to be considered, the design of new products and processes must push the limits of technology. Multiphysics simulation software can boost product design in many ways, and help bring innovative products to market while optimizing the use of resources throughout organizations.

Posted in: Articles, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), Electronics & Computers, Mathematical/Scientific Software, Simulation Software, Software
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Apparatus and Method to Test Abrasion Resistance of Material Using Airborne Particulate

Prior art techniques for testing abrasion resistance, such as the Taber test and the Bayer test, typically use a rubbing or scratching mechanism to test materials for abrasion resistance; specifically, either an abrasive material is rubbed across the test sample surface, or the test sample is rubbed against an abrasive surface. While these tests do provide valuable data, they do not accurately or reliably predict resistance to impact damage from wind-borne particulate matter. These prior art techniques are typically used to test hard protective coatings to determine their resistance to scratching; however, such protective coatings are prone to shattering upon impact of a fast-moving object, such as a grain of sand.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement
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Electrochemically Enhanced Mechanical Polishing of Optics

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center astrophysicists are developing better instruments to measure high-energy X-rays zipping about space when viewed from above the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists at MSFC adapted a novel method for material removal and super-polishing to the mandrel fabrication of an advanced X-ray telescope.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Miniature Airborne Particle Mass Monitor

Particulate matter (PM) exposure and health effects have become top U.S. environmental research agenda items over the past decade. Environmental epidemiological studies rely on information from both sides of the dose-response equation: risk factor measures and health outcome data. The ability to resolve relationships from environmental data depends upon the quantity, accuracy, specificity, and precision of both. Although health surveillance and data collection methods have improved dramatically through database system advances, the techniques for PM exposure are not adequate.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement
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Autonomous Slat-Cove Filler Device

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a deployable and stowable mechanical design for filling the cavity behind the leading-edge slat (i.e., slat cove) when it is extended upon landing an aircraft. Aerodynamic flow over an unfilled cavity typically exhibits strongly unsteady behavior that is a source of aeroacoustic noise. Conventional leading-edge slat devices for high lift are a good example of such geometric and flow conditions, and are a prominent source of airframe noise. Experimental and computational results have shown that a slat-cove filler device could significantly reduce the noise produced by slat structures. The proposed structural concept will enable autonomous achievement of the desired deployed shape. The design will facilitate a clean cruise configuration with minimal weight addition to the aircraft. NASA is seeking development partners and potential licensees.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace
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Lower-Chatter Friction Pull Plug Welding (FPPW)

Friction Pull Plug Welding (FPPW) is the process necessary to plug the hole that is left behind as a friction stir weld (FSW) joint is completed and the pin tool of the welder retracts from the joint. FPPW involves a small, rotating part (plug) being spun and simultaneously pulled (forged) into a hole in a larger part. When the plug enters the hole, there is often chatter, and sometimes the machine stalls completely. NASA discovered that by optimizing the design of the pull plug, including angling the shoulder edge of the plug precisely, it makes contact with the hole in such a way that the chatter issue is improved. NASA has made the new design as an adaptation to make FPPW more practical and robust. The new plug has been used to make space-qualified parts at NASA, and the plug welds are as strong as initial welds.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, WA, has been operated by Battelle and its predecessors since the lab’s inception in 1965. For more than 50 years, PNNL has advanced the frontiers of science and engineering, making fundamental scientific discoveries and solving problems in energy, the environment, and national security.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Energy Storage, Green Design & Manufacturing, Remediation Technologies, Displays/Monitors/HMIs, Imaging, Composites, Materials, Plastics, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Research Lab, Robotics, Detectors, Sensors
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