National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va.
NASA Researchers Win R&D 100 Award for Temperature Sensor
HAMPTON, Va. -- A team of scientists based at NASA's Langley Research Center were named winners in late June of the 49th Annual R&D 100 Award for developing the "SansEC Temperature Sensor."
Led by the late Stanley Woodard, principle investigator of the SansEC technology, the group includes co-inventor Bryant Taylor from ATK Space Systems and Chuantong Wang, a research scientist from the nearby National Institute of Aerospace.
The R&D 100 Awards, widely recognized as the "Oscars of Innovation," salute the 100 most technologically significant products from around the world introduced into the marketplace over the past year. Winners of the R&D 100 Awards are selected by an independent judging panel and the editors of R&D Magazine.
"It is a great feeling of accomplishment to have your work selected as a R&D 100 award," said Taylor. "My thoughts go back to the many good times I had working with the late Dr. Stanley Woodard on this technology and his persistent quest of achieving what seems to be unachievable."
NASA scientists originally developed SansEC as a method of having thermal insulation serve as a damage detection system for inflatable space structures and discovered its additional unique qualities as a new way of doing electrical systems.
Unlike other sensors, a SansEC sensor can be designed for measurements unrelated to each other -- like temperature and fluid level -- and easily switch from one to another or do both simultaneously.
Traditional closed-circuit sensors use electrical connections that can be degraded or damaged and have the potential for electrical arcing, but the SansEC open-circuit sensor has no conventional electrical connections making it highly resilient to damage. It operates as a single component and not only weighs less than its closed-circuit counterparts but can be manufactured at a lower cost. It uses fewer materials; requires less time and labor; produces less waste and has a wide range of commercial applications.
The sensor promises to advance vehicle safety by improving the detection of tire damage compared to conventional tire pressure monitoring systems. It can be configured to measure some physical quantities or changes without exposing electrical components to harsh environments, like gaseous ammonia or chlorine.
Woodard, Taylor and Wang will be honored at the R&D 100 Awards Banquet on Oct. 13, 2011, in Orlando.
For more information about NASA Langley Research Center visit: www.nasa.gov/langley
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