Multidimensional Damage Detection System
The Damage Detection System consists of layered composite material made up of two-dimensional thin film damage detection layers separated by thicker, nondetection layers, coupled with a detection system. The damage detection layers within the composite material are thin films with a conductive grid or striped pattern. The conductive pattern can be applied on a variety of substrates using several different application methods. The number of detection layers in the composite material can be tailored depending on the level of damage detection detail needed for a particular application. When damage occurs to any detection layer, a change in the electrical properties of that layer is detected and reported. Multiple damages can be detected simultaneously, providing real-time detail on the depth and location of the damage. The truly unique feature of the System is its flexibility. It can be designed to gather as much (or as little) information as needed for a particular application using wireless communication. Individual detection layers can be turned on or off as necessary, and algorithms can be modified to optimize performance. The damage detection system can be used to generate both diagnostic and prognostic information related to the health of layered composite structures, which will be essential if such systems are utilized to protect human life and/or critical equipment and material.
information technology and software
The Hilbert-Huang Transform Real-Time Data Processing System
The present innovation is an engineering tool known as the HHT Data Processing System (HHTDPS). The HHTDPS allows applying the Transform, or 'T,' to a data vector in a fashion similar to the heritage FFT. It is a generic, low cost, high performance personal computer (PC) based system that implements the HHT computational algorithms in a user friendly, file driven environment. Unlike other signal processing techniques such as the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT1 and FFT2) that assume signal linearity and stationarity, the Hilbert-Huang Transform (HHT) utilizes relationships between arbitrary signals and local extrema to find the signal instantaneous spectral representation. Using the Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) followed by the Hilbert Transform of the empirical decomposition data, the HHT allows spectrum analysis of nonlinear and nonstationary data by using an engineering a-posteriori data processing, based on the EMD algorithm. This results in a non-constrained decomposition of a source real value data vector into a finite set of Intrinsic Mode Functions (IMF) that can be further analyzed for spectrum interpretation by the classical Hilbert Transform. The HHTDPS has a large variety of applications and has been used in several NASA science missions. NASA cosmology science missions, such as Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM/WFIRST), carry instruments with multiple focal planes populated with many large sensor detector arrays with sensor readout electronics circuitry that must perform at extremely low noise levels. A new methodology and implementation platform using the HHTDPS for readout noise reduction in large IR/CMOS hybrid sensors was developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Scientists at NASA GSFC have also used the algorithm to produce the first known Hilbert-Transform based wide-field broadband data cube constructed from actual interferometric data. Furthermore, HHT has been used to improve signal reception capability in radio frequency (RF) communications. This NASA technology is currently available to the medical community to help in the diagnosis and prediction of syndromes that affect the brain, such as stroke, dementia, and traumatic brain injury. The HHTDPS is available for non-exclusive and partial field of use licenses.
Interim, In Situ Additive Manufacturing Inspection
The in situ inspection technology for additive manufacturing combines different types of cameras strategically placed around the part to monitor its properties during construction. The IR cameras collect accurate temperature data to validate thermal math models, while the visual cameras obtain highly detailed data at the exact location of the laser to build accurate, as-built geometric models. Furthermore, certain adopted techniques (e.g., single to grouped pixels comparison to avoid bad/biased pixels) reduce false positive readings. NASA has developed and tested prototypes in both laser-sintered plastic and metal processes. The technology detected errors due to stray powder sparking and material layer lifts. Furthermore, the technology has the potential to detect anomalies in the property profile that are caused by errors due to stress, power density issues, incomplete melting, voids, incomplete fill, and layer lift-up. Three-dimensional models of the printed parts were reconstructed using only the collected data, which demonstrates the success and potential of the technology to provide a deeper understanding of the laser-metal interactions. By monitoring the print, layer by layer, in real-time, users can pause the process and make corrections to the build as needed, reducing material, energy, and time wasted in nonconforming parts.
Lightweight Fiber Optic Sensors for Real-Time Monitoring of Structural Health
<strong><i>How It Works </strong></i> The FOSS technology employs efficient, real-time, data driven algorithms for interpreting strain data. The fiber Bragg grating sensors respond to strain due to stress or pressure on the substrate. The sensors feed these strain measurements into the systems algorithms to determine shape, stress, temperature, pressure, strength, and operational load in real time. <strong><i>Why It Is Better </strong></i> Conventional strain gauges are heavy, bulky, spaced at distant intervals (which leads to lower resolution imaging), and unable to provide real-time measurements. Armstrong's system is virtually weightless, and thousands of sensors can be placed at quarter-inch intervals along an optical fiber the size of a human hair. Because these sensors can be placed at such close intervals and in previously inaccessible regions (for example, within bolted joints, embedded in a composite structure), the high-resolution strain measurements are more precise than ever before. The fiber optic sensors are non-intrusive and easy to install—thousands of sensors can be installed in less time than conventional strain sensors and the system is capable of processing information at the unprecedented rate of 100 samples per second. This critical, real-time monitoring capability enables an immediate and informed response in the event of an emergency and allows for precise, controlled monitoring to help avoid such scenarios. <b><i>For more information about the full portfolio of FOSS technologies, see DRC-TOPS-37 or visit <a href=https://technology-afrc.ndc.nasa.gov/featurestory/fiber-optic-sensing>https://technology-afrc.ndc.nasa.gov/featurestory/fiber-optic-sensing</a></b></i>
Sensing Magnetic Fields
This technology is part of Armstrong's portfolio of fiber optic sensing technologies known as FOSS. The innovation leverages Armstrong's cutting edge work in this area, including its patented FBG interrogation system, which allows for a diverse set of engineering measurements in a single compact system. In addition to magnetic field, other measurements include structural shape and buckling modes, external loads, and cryogenic liquid level. The system and measurement technology is commercially available for research applications. In addition to capitalizing on the significant advancements in fiber optic and laser technologies that have been made to support the telecommunications industry, Armstrong has also partnered with UCLA's Active Materials Lab (AML) to tap their expertise in the field of magnetics. <b><i>For more information about the full portfolio of FOSS technologies, see DRC-TOPS-37 or visit <a href=https://technology-afrc.ndc.nasa.gov/featurestory/fiber-optic-sensing>https://technology-afrc.ndc.nasa.gov/featurestory/fiber-optic-sensing</a></b></i>
In Situ Performance Monitoring of Piezoelectric Sensors and Accelerometers
On occasion, anomalies may appear in the highly dynamic test data obtained during rocket engine tests, which are investigated and corrective action may be mandated before subsequent testing. Also, it is often unclear if anomalies in recorded signals are due to differences between the Low and High Speed Data Acquisitions Systems, difference between the transducers, a failed transducer, or if everything is working correctly and the system were actually accurately recording real events. Commercial test equipment suitable for testing piezoelectric sensors is expensive and requires that the sensor be removed from the test article for evaluation. With the monitoring system developed, degraded sensor performance can be quickly and economically identified. This system can evaluate installed piezoelectric sensors, without requiring physical contact with or removing them from their mounted locations. Tests are conducted through cabling. Since it is not necessary to remove the device, data that reflect the devices specific physical configuration (such as as-mounted resonant frequency) are retained, and devices that are physically inaccessible can still be tested. The testing system is not limited to identifying degraded performance in the sensors piezoelectric elements; it can detect changes within the entire sensor, and sensor housing. The system can be made portable, in a battery powered sealed box, for testing in the field. Since physical contact with the sensor is not necessary, therefore, monitoring can be done as far away as 250 feet, or longer if certain provisions are made.
materials and coatings
Enhanced Software Suite Maximizes Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Methods
This technology provides comprehensive, detailed, and accurate NDE detection and characterization of subsurface defects in composites and some metallic hardware. This complete software suite normalizes and calibrates the data, which provides more stable measurements and reduces the occurrence of errors due to the operator and to camera variability. When using flash IR thermography to evaluate materials, variations in the thermal diffusivity of the material manifest themselves as anomalies in the IR image of the test surface. Post-processing of this raw IR camera data provides highly detailed analysis of the size and characterization of anomalies. The newly incorporated Transient and Lock-In Thermography methods allow the analysis of thicker material and with better flaw resolution than Flash Thermography alone. The peak contrast and peak contrast time profiles generated through this analysis provide quantitative interpretation of the images, including detailed information about the size and shape of the anomalies. The persistence energy and persistence time profiles provide highly sensitive data for detected anomalies. Peak contrast, peak time, persistence time, and persistence energy measurements also enable monitoring for flaw growth and signal response to flaw size analysis. This technology is at a technology readiness level (TRL) of 7 (system prototype demonstration in an operational environment), and the innovation is now available for your company to license. Please note that NASA does not manufacture products itself for commercial sale.
Fiber Optic Sensing Technologies
The FOSS technology revolutionizes fiber optic sensing by using its innovative algorithms to calculate a range of useful parameters—any and all of which can be monitored simultaneously and in real time. FOSS also couples these cutting-edge algorithms with a high-speed, low-cost processing platform and interrogator to create a single, robust, stand-alone instrumentation system. The system distributes thousands of sensors in a vast network—much like the human body's nervous system—that provides valuable information. <b><i>How It Works</b></i> Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors are embedded in an optical fiber at intervals as small as 0.25 inches, which is then attached to or integrated into the structure. An innovative, low-cost, temperature-tuned distributed feedback (DFB) laser with no moving parts interrogates the FBG sensors as they respond to changes in optical wavelength resulting from stress or pressure on the structure, sending the data to a processing system. Unique algorithms correlate optical response to displacement data, calculating the shape and movement of the optical fiber (and, by extension, the structure) in real time, without affecting the structure's intrinsic properties. The system uses these data to calculate additional parameters, displaying parameters such as 2D and 3D shape/position, temperature, liquid level, stiffness, strength, pressure, stress, and operational loads. <b><i>Why It Is Better</b></i> FOSS monitors strain, stresses, structural instabilities, temperature distributions, and a plethora of other engineering measurements in real time with a single instrumentation system weighing less than 10 pounds. FOSS can also discern between liquid and gas states in a tank or other container, providing accurate measurements at 0.25-inch intervals. Adaptive spatial resolution features enable faster signal processing and precision measurement only when and where it is needed, saving time and resources. As a result, FOSS lends itself well to long-term bandwidth-limited monitoring of structures that experience few variations but could be vulnerable as anomalies occur (e.g., a bridge stressed by strong wind gusts or an earthquake). As a single example of the value FOSS can provide, consider oil and gas drilling applications. The FOSS technology could be incorporated into specialized drill heads to sense drill direction as well as temperature and pressure. Because FOSS accurately determines the drill shape, users can position the drill head exactly as needed. Temperature and pressure indicate the health of the drill. This type of strain and temperature monitoring could also be applied to sophisticated industrial bore scope usage in drilling and exploration. <b><i>For more information about the full portfolio of FOSS technologies, see visit <a href=https://technology-afrc.ndc.nasa.gov/featurestory/fiber-optic-sensing>https://technology-afrc.ndc.nasa.gov/featurestory/fiber-optic-sensing</a></b></i>