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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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
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07.12.2017 | Event News
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08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology