Sensors

Wireless Sensing — the Road to Future Digital Avionics

The performance of avionics systems is dictated by the timely availability and usage of critical health parameters. Various sensors acquire and communicate the desired parameters. In current scenarios, sensors are hardwired and the number of sensors are growing due to automation, which increases the accuracy of intended aircraft functions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Sensors, Avionics, Flight control systems, Sensors and actuators
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Laser Measurement

Ophir Photonics’ 1000WP-BB-34 high-power water cooled thermal sensor is designed with the requirement that all materials coming in contact with the cooling water are either copper or nonmetallic. This eliminates the possibility of contaminating the water or corroding the sensor, improving the accuracy and reliability of the measurements. The sensor features a 34-mm aperture and a wide dynamic range, measuring powers from 5 W to 1000 W and energy from 400 mJ to 300 J. More detail at http://articles.sae.org/13730.

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Sensors
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Mine-Sweeping Device

Minelab Electronics
Torrensville, Australia
61-8-8238-0888
www.minelab.com
NIITEK
Dulles, VA
703-661-0283
www.niitek.com

Minelab Electronics, an Australian company known for its metal detectors, has partnered with NIITEK, a Dulles, VA-based developer of ground-penetrating radar, to produce a mine-sweeping device that detects both metal and shapes in the ground. Together they have won a contract to supply a mounted mine detection system for US Husky Detection System (HMDS) military vehicles.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Detectors, Radar, Protective equipment, Military vehicles and equipment
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Unmanned Ocean Drone

Liquid Robotics
Sunnyvale, CA
408-636-4200
www.liquidr.com

Accurately forecasting weather conditions and currents prior to mission deployment is an invaluable intelligence tool for the warfighter. Being able to accurately predict a Category-5 typhoon or hurricane, instead of a tropical storm, also saves lives, saves property, and saves time in evacuations. The Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider®, a surfboard-sized ocean drone filled with sensors, computers, and communications equipment, can survive a Category-5 typhoon while continuously collecting and transmitting meteorological and oceanographic data. Previously this type of data was unobtainable because it was too risky to send manned ships out in the middle of a hurricane/typhoon; buoys can become severely damaged or come off their moorings in such conditions; and satellites have difficulty seeing through the dense cloud cover.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Communications, Defense, Thermal Management, Data Acquisition, Robotics, Marine vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Rotary Transformer Coupled Torque Sensors

The Model T261 series rotary transformer coupled torque sensors from SensorData Technologies meet the demanding inline testing requirements of small motors, pumps, compressors, turbines, fans, and other fractional horsepower rated devices. Overall performance of the T261 Series offers higher stiffness and lower inertia than comparable torque sensors on the market. Units are available in three standard rated capacities of 5, 10, and 20 K rpm, along with three unique mounting configuration options (others upon request). More detail at http://articles.sae.org/13560.

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Defense, Sensors
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Scientists Turn Handheld JCAD into Dual-Use Chemical, Explosives Detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center recently gave the Joint Chemical Agent Detector (JCAD) the ability to detect explosive materials. The original JCAD was developed and fielded to U.S. Forces nearly 25 years ago, to serve as a portable, automatic chemical warfare agent detector. Currently there are approximately 56,000 chemical warfare agent detecting JCADs in service within the Department of Defense. However, recent needs have required scientists to find ways to create a similar portable technology to detect explosive materials.

According to the Army, "Future Army forces require the capability to provide support to unified land operations by detecting, locating, identifying, diagnosing, rendering safe, exploiting, and disposing of all explosive ordnance, improvised explosive devices, improvised/homemade explosives, and weapons of mass destruction."

Funded through an Army Technology Objective (ATO) program starting in 2010, under the requirement to assess which existing detectors could also detect explosives, ECBC's Point Detection Branch began to research different options. Since so many JCADs are already in the hands of warfighters across all four services, the team explored the possibilities with that technology. ECBC Point Detection Branch handled the technical evaluation of the unit in collaboration with Smiths Detection, who is building the parts for the new capability.

While working to make the JCAD an explosives detector, the team had to overcome several challenges. On a programmatic level, the ATO requirement had restrictions against modifying the existing JCAD hardware. Also, the JCAD needed to maintain its original chemical warfare agent detector purpose. Aside from the ATO requirements, making a chemical warfare agent detector into an explosives detector had some scientific challenges. The original JCAD is designed to detect vapors. However, explosive materials are usually low vapor pressure solids. ECBC scientists had to figure out how the JCAD could detect solid explosive materials, without changing the hardware or original intent of the detector. Given these parameters the scientists sought to determine how to modify this detector while essentially keeping it the same.

"Many of the emerging chemical threats and explosives share the challenge of presenting little to no detectable vapor for sampling. By conducting research into the detection of solid explosive residues, we have learned valuable lessons that are equally important for detecting nonvolatile solid and liquid chemical agent residues as well," said Dr. Augustus W. Fountain III, senior research scientist for chemistry.

The add-on pieces are a new JCAD Rain Cap with a Probe Swab and an inlet. Within the JCAD itself, scientists added two on-demand vapor generators: a calibrant and a dopant. The dopant changes the chemistry of the detector so that it can detect explosives easier.

To convert an ordinary JCAD into a JCAD Chemical Explosive Detector (JCAD CED), the existing rain cap is replaced with one that has a new inlet. Once in place, scientists wipe any surface using the probe swab, which then retracts back into the inlet. With a simple button push, the probe swab tip with the explosives sample heats up to a certain temperature, vaporizing the explosive residue. These additional features allow an ordinary JCAD to now have the role of a portable, automated explosives detector.

The swab allows users to pick up often-invisible residue from any surface and analyze it. The explosive residue can be transferred and easily detected using the instrument. The JCAD CED can already detect roughly a dozen compounds including TNT, RDX and EGN. Future efforts could increase the number of detectable compounds.

Scientists plan to determine the amount of explosives that can be detected and develop a concept of operations. Other goals include developing a methodology for detecting homemade explosives, and reaching a technology readiness level 6. JCAD CED will be demonstrated in a fiscal year 2015 military utility assessment.

Source:

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Defense, Detectors, Sensors
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University Opens New Ballistics and Impact Dynamics Lab

Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research recently opened a new ballistics and impact dynamics research lab in the former Britt Brown Arena at the Kansas Coliseum. The new ballistics lab, part of NIAR’s environmental Test Labs, uses a custom built ballistic firing device to propel 22-50 caliber rounds into components inside a concrete containment building. The test is designed to simulate the impact of a structural failure on the aircraft.

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Cameras, Imaging, Data Acquisition, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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Army to Get New IED Detector Technology

Detecting improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan requires constant, intensive monitoring using rugged equipment. When Sandia researchers first demonstrated a modified miniature synthetic aperture radar (MiniSAR) system to do just that, some experts didn't believe it. But those early doubts are long gone. Sandia's Copperhead — a highly modified MiniSAR system mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — has been uncovering IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2009. Now, according to senior manager Jim Hudgens, Sandia is transferring the technology to the U.S. Army to support combat military personnel.

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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Air And Missile Defense System To Get Smarter Software

When a missile is launched against an enemy target, it would be nice to have a lot of good information about that target. But when "decision makers push the fire button, they may have very little data, and sometimes not timely enough data," said Col. Rob Rasch Jr., project manager, Integrated Air and Missile Defense Project Office, or IAMD, at Redstone Arsenal, Ala. "Nowhere in the current Army architecture is there a way to share information from all of our various sensors and weapons to have better integrated coverage," he pointed out, referring to situational awareness for those operating Patriot and other missile defense systems like those used for short-range air defense.

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Defense, Fiber Optics, Photonics, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Sensors, Software
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Oil Pipeline Fault Detection System Determines Material Permittivity at Microwave Frequencies

Researching fault location techniques for the oil industry requires data on the complex permittivity of the polyamide Rilsan at microwave frequencies. Rilsan is a vital material used in oil pipe construction. Currently there is no published data for the complex permittivity of Rilsan. The task for this project was to develop an accurate method to measure the complex permittivity of Rilsan to gain an understanding of the dielectric relaxations that occur within it. A fast, accurate method was developed using a vector network analyzer (VNA) and rectangular waveguide.

Posted in: Articles, Detectors, Waveguides, Research and development, Materials properties, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures, Mining vehicles and equipment
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