Test & Measurement

Peridynamic Modeling: An Alternative Approach to Analyzing Material Failure

A critical technology challenge for structural material applications in the aerospace and defense industries is to have a means for the reliable analysis of material damage and failure. Experimental structural assessments are typically expensive and often do not provide full information about coupled, multiscale damage processes. Computer-aided analysis has established itself as a useful tool for complementing experimental structural assessments. A comparative summary of current computer-aided approaches is presented in the accompanying table.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Materials, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Software, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

Multi-Agent RF Propagation Simulator

A desirable interface between multi-agents is through over-the-air RF connections that include not only the intended direct RF communications paths but also highly variable multi-ray propagation, range attenuation, external RF influences, and near-earth influence. These influences are all difficult to predict, control, and repeat in an outdoor environment. This outdoor testing, as has traditionally been done, is extremely expensive while simultaneously providing fewer data points than more controlled events and the testing events are generally not repeatable.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Data Acquisition, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Simulation Software, Inspection Equipment, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Getting the Most Out of Industrial CT Scanning

Quality assurance and flight certification of critical aerospace parts and assemblies have reached new levels of sophistication in recent years. Leading aerospace and defense manufacturers worldwide now consider computed tomography (CT) scanning to be an essential part of their non-destructive testing (NDT) toolkit. Far more powerful than the CT used to scan the human body, industrial CT can penetrate almost every material, from superalloys to lead, revealing hidden details that previously could only be found by cutting and destroying finished parts.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace Manufacturing and Machining, Aerospace, Defense, Imaging, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Industrial Controls & Automation, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Ceramics, Composites, Materials, Joining & Assembly, Machinery, Mechanical Components, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Simulation Software, Software, Inspection Equipment, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Underwater Drone Technology

Finding ways to overcome physical limitations so that humans can dive deeper and stay underwater longer has been an ongoing quest. Back in the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci drew sketches of a submarine and a robot. Had he thought to combine the two concepts, he would have created a prototype of an unmanned underwater vehicle, or underwater drone. Instead, the world had to wait another five hundred years.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Defense, Power Management, Power Supplies, Cameras, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Power, Robotics, Sensors, Instrumentation, Transportation

Eyes In the Sky

Drones (i.e. quadrotors) are a popular and increasingly widespread product used by consumers as well as in a diversity of industrial, military and other applications. Historically under the control of human operators on the ground, they’re becoming increasingly autonomous as the cameras built into them find use not only for capturing footage of the world around them but also in understanding and responding to their surroundings. Combining imaging with other sensing modalities can further bolster the robustness of this autonomy.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Imaging, Automation, Robotics, Sensors, Inspection Equipment, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

Hydraulic Cylinder Position Sensor Technology

As the demand for greater control and functionality increases, position-sensor-instrumented hydraulic cylinders are becoming more important in the heavy industry, mobile equipment, and subsea worlds. Position sensors for feedback in hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders have typically used one of three technologies: Linear Variable Inductance Transducers (LVITs), variable resistance potentiometers (Pots), or magnetostrictive transducers (MLDTs). While other sensor technologies have occasionally been used in these applications, the focus of this article is a comparison among these three popular technologies. Ultimately, a user or systems integrator must determine the exact requirements of the application and which technology best satisfies them on a total installed cost versus performance basis. The strengths and weaknesses of linear variable inductance, variable resistance pots, and magnetostrictive sensors are all examined below, together with a feature-by-feature comparison chart.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Mechanical Components, Positioning Equipment, Power, Power Transmission, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement

Understanding the “Black Art” of RF and Microwave Switching

Understanding RF, especially microwave switching, can be a challenge. In many cases, test systems have been compromised because a test engineer did not consider all the components of their test system: instruments, switching, cabling, Mass Interconnect (test fixture interface), fixture design, and so on. Each component has its own set of characteristics. With RF and microwave components, effects including insertion loss, VSWR, bandwidth, and so on all need to be considered as well.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

Using Ruggedized Test Equipment to Solve Jet Engine Problems

A jet engine is the very definition of “mission-critical.” A critical failure could cause a serious accident that endangers hundreds of lives. To prevent this from happening, manufacturers perform extensive testing on jet engine components, systems, and manufacturing processes.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Data Acquisition, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

Hardware Design of a High Dynamic Range Radio Frequency (RF) Harmonic Measurement System

Radio frequency (RF) circuit elements that are traditionally considered to be linear frequently exhibit nonlinear properties that affect the intended operation of many other RF systems. Devices such as RF connectors, antennas, attenuators, resistors, and dissimilar metal junctions generate nonlinear distortion that degrades primary RF system performance. The communications industry is greatly affected by these unintended and unexpected nonlinear distortions. The high transmit power and tight channel spacing of the communication channel makes communications very susceptible to nonlinear distortion.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

Using RISC-V to Simplify Data Logging in Space

Worldwide demand for low Earth orbit satellites is increasing at an unprecedented pace, driven by diverse needs such as faster and more affordable Internet access, and faster revisit rates with finer resolution for imaging data. The satellite payload instruments performing communications or imaging functions are becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable and require the collection of increasing amounts of telemetry data to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the satellite.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Power Management, Thermal Management, Mechanical Components, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Semiconductors & ICs, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement