The system involves monitoring based on optic fibre sensors that enable the visualisation of the real time temperature of elements making up the heat protection shield – one of the most sensitive parts where maximum temperatures are reached in reusable space vehicles (such as space shuttles).
“The incorporation of our equipment in a manned vehicle significantly increases its levels of safety and reliability. With our technology, we can measure the integrity of the highly sensitive tiles of the thermal protection system (TPS) - on re-entering the atmosphere they may have to withstand temperatures of more than 800ºC for several minutes – and, therefore enhance their safety”, explained those responsible for the project.
The designed protection system means an important advance, being part of what is known as HMS (Health Monitoring Systems), in space vehicle structures and helps the safety elements to be much more robust in conditions of electromagnetic perturbations on launching and take-off or during incorporation into the launch pad. The nature of monitoring based on optic fibre sensors enables the placing of a great number of sensors on the structure of the shuttle, thus increasing the number of available points for the measurement of temperature, “something which, with traditional technologies, has not been viable”.
Moreover, very light devices are involved, directly facilitating the possible number of sensors to be installed, as they occupy little overall volume or weight.
The development of this new system is fruit of an innovation project financed by the ESA and successfully developed over the last two years.
The research team officially presented the project results on the 18 and 19 of November at the ESA installations in the Netherlands.
Irati Kortabitarte | EurekAlert!
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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