Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The CAV...

A big hand for the folks down at Penn State, specifically the ones who work in the Center for Acoustics and Vibration. They put on a great spring workshop, which I just returned from (oh... about an hour ago). It was good to see my friend, Andrew Barnard, who is faculty down there, and to see what so many people in acoustics and vibration are up to.
I'm going to geek out a bit, because so much of the things I saw this past two days were so cool. One of the PSU researchers is working on ultrasonic helicopter rotor deicing. The cool thing about his setup is that he's proven it out. Here and here are a couple of Jose's papers, but the coolest thing isn't even in either of those papers. He build a rotor lab in a freezer... That's right, he can take data on a spinning helicopter rotor under conditions that will form ice. Not only that, he's also done all of the legwork to determine that the ice that forms in his lab is the same as what would form in nature! The dents in the walls of the safety cage where ice (and a couple of rotor blades, Jose admitted) made everyone on the tour know for sure that this lab isn't just for show.
A lot of other topics were discussed as well. Energy Harvesting/Structural Health Monitoring  (EH/SHM) was a pretty common topic. What this entails is using some sort of device to collect (usually vibroacoustic) energy  and powering a sensor or group of sensors. These sensors may in fact be for collecting vibroacoustic data, but they can also be used to measure fatigue, stress, or some other phenomenon on the particular structure of interest. A discussion panel about EH/SHM as well as Noise and Vibration Instrumentation (NVI) convened during the workshop.
I actually sat on the NVI panel, along with Andrew, Tom Gabrielson (who is one of the foremost minds of this time when it comes to instrumentation), and Wim Desmet from KU Leuven. We fielded questions ranging from the future of ultrasonic measurement instrumentation, to how to devise a high pressure transducer for very high tempertature in water (on a very small structure, something that each of us pretty much said would be really hard).
The first discussion this morning was also a very interesting topic, adaptive structures and noise control. George Lesieutre talked about how composite materials can be built such that they change shape (become stiffer) in one direction or another depending on if an electric field, magnetic field, or thermal transient is applied to the surface. George said that they were experimenting with such materials at the time, and that things seemed promising.
It was a very good couple of days, but now I'm exhausted. So I'm going to crash. I'll pick up on Thursday where I left off on last week's thoughts (Sinusoids... right?)

For those of you interested in checking out the stuff going on at the PSU CAV go here. In the next couple days all of the presentations will be posted, and you can get a better idea of what all went on.