The engineers who built the massive external fuel tank that will power the shuttle Discovery into orbit this spring used sophisticated X-ray detectors developed by UF researchers to reduce the chance of a defect in the foam insulation covering the tank. The detectors, first invented as a new technology to find land mines, can identify tiny gaps, or air-filled voids, in the insulating foam without causing any damage. It is believed that such a gap – possibly located between the foam and the tanks surface – caused a suitcase-sized piece of foam to break off during Columbias liftoff in January 2003. The chunk struck the edge of the shuttles left wing, seriously damaging it and spurring the shuttles destruction during re-entry on Feb. 1.
"We can do the inspection of the foam as it exists already sprayed onto the tank. We dont have to cut into it," said Warren Ussery, team leader for the return to flight nondestructive evaluation team at Lockheed Martins Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, where the shuttles external tanks are manufactured. "Were able to find critical voids with that (the UF detector)."
UF nuclear engineering professor Ed Dugan and retired UF nuclear engineering professor Alan Jacobs began experimenting with the modified "backscatter" X-ray detector several years ago as part of research aimed at engineering a more effective landmine detector. Conventional X-ray machines propel radiation through a target object to radiographic film on the other side. Different objects absorb X-rays to differing extents, so some show up more prominently on film than others. Backscatter X-ray machines were developed for circumstances when it is impossible to place film behind the object, as is the case with the shuttle tank. Contrasting conventional machines, they obtain images by capturing the radiation scattered "back" from the target.
Ed Dugan | EurekAlert!
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Engineers find better way to detect nanoparticles
14.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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