Special Coverage

NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Robotic Gripper Cleans Up Space Debris
Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
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
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space

SAE World Congress Preview “Achieving Efficiency”

The 2013 SAE World Congress and Exhibition, taking place April 16-18 at Cobo Center in Detroit, represents an unparalleled opportunity to explore new technology through both technical sessions and the Innovators Only Exhibition. This year’s Host Company is Chrysler, and ZF will serve as Tier One Strategic Supplier for the event. Last year, more than 9,000 engineers, engineering managers, auto industry executives, and government officials from 45 different countries attended the SAE World Congress (sae.org/congress).

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Career and professional development, Suppliers

High-Pressure Systems Suppress Fires in Seconds

Orbital Technologies Corp. (ORBITEC) of Madison, WI, has been a longtime NASA partner, working with the Agency on numerous projects, many through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. ORBITEC collaborated with Marshall Space Flight Center to develop products such as a cool-wall vortex combustion chamber that represents a new method of rocket engine design. By feeding liquid or gas oxidizer into the combustion chamber in a manner that generates a swirling vortex flow, the design confines the mixing and burning of the propellant to the core of the chamber, keeping the walls free from volatile thermal stresses. ORBITEC applied this innovation to an advanced vortex hybrid rocket engine that combines solid and liquid fuel to power a low-cost, highly reliable, and versatile propulsion option.

Posted in: Articles, Propulsion, Hydrocarbons, Fire suppression, Fire suppression

Building an Immersive Training Platform for Infantry Soldiers

Developing an effective immersive training tool requires a fine balance of technology capabilities with human factors. Achieving a training goal to build squad leadership skills, squad-level communication, and mission rehearsal for an entire squadron brings together several components, including advanced body sensors that must translate physical movements, avatar actions, and high-resolution headmounted displays (HMDs) to immerse the user in the virtual world.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Virtual reality, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Human machine interface (HMI), Head-up displays, Head-up displays, Education, Education and training, Military vehicles and equipment

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

Software Programs Derive Measurements from Photographs

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, Exterior lighting, Design processes, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Interior lighting, Interior 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, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Interior lighting, Interior lighting, Materials properties

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