A method based on the use of enhanced filtered Hilbert envelope of the wave signal was developed in order to monitor the height of condensed water through the wall of steam pipes having dynamic flow conditions. A prototype testbed was designed and fabricated in this study to simulate the dynamic flow conditions including the air stream flowing above the water and bubble induced disturbance. A dual-transducer was used to perform the test as a basis for the multiple transducers system to facilitate the detectability and reliability for long term monitoring of the condensed water height in dynamic conditions. The results demonstrated that the method of measuring the water height using multiple-transducer system employing the developed novel signal processing technique is an efficient and accurate tool for practical applications.
Power generation schemes that could be used downhole in an oil well to produce about 1 Watt average power with long-life (decades) are actively being developed. A variety of proposed energy harvesting schemes could be used to extract energy from this environment but each of these has their own limitations that limit their practical use. Since vibrating piezoelectric structures are solid state and can be driven below their fatigue limit, harvesters based on these structures are capable of operating for very long lifetimes (decades); thereby, possibly overcoming a principle limitation of existing technology based on rotating turbo-machinery. An initial survey  identified that spline nozzle configurations can be used to excite a vibrating piezoelectric structure in such a way as to convert the abundant flow energy into useful amounts of electrical power. This paper presents current flow energy harvesting designs and experimental results of specific spline nozzle/ bimorph design configurations which have generated suitable power per nozzle at or above well production analogous flow rates. Theoretical models for non-dimensional analysis and constitutive electromechanical model are also presented in this paper to optimize the flow harvesting system.
Actuators are used to drive all active mechanisms including machines, robots, and manipulators to name a few. The actuators are responsible for moving, manipulating, displacing, pushing and executing any action that is needed by the mechanism. There are many types and principles of actuation that are responsible for these movements ranging from electromagnetic, electroactive, thermo-mechanic, piezoelectric, electrostrictive etc. Actuators are readily available from commercial producers but there is a great need for reducing their size, increasing their efficiency and reducing their weight. Studies at JPL’s Non Destructive Evaluation and Advanced Actuators (NDEAA) Laboratory have been focused on the use of piezoelectric stacks and novel designs taking advantage of piezoelectric’s potential to provide high torque/force density actuation and high electromechanical conversion efficiency. The actuators/motors that have been developed and reviewed in this paper are operated by various horn configurations as well as the use of pre-stress flexures that make them thermally stable and increases their coupling efficiency. The use of monolithic designs that pre-stress the piezoelectric stack eliminates the use of compression stress bolt. These designs enable the embedding of developed solid-state motors/actuators in any structure with the only macroscopically moving parts are the rotor or the linear translator. Finite element modeling and design tools were used to determine the requirements and operation parameters and the results were used to simulate, design and fabricate novel actuators/motors. The developed actuators and performance will be described and discussed in this paper.
An enhanced signal processing method based on the filtered Hilbert envelope of the auto-correlation function of the
wave signal has been developed to monitor the height of condensed water through the steel wall of steam pipes with
dynamic surface conditions. The developed signal processing algorithm can also be used to estimate the thickness of the
pipe to determine the cut-off frequency for the low pass filter frequency of the Hilbert Envelope. Testing and analysis
results by using the developed technique for dynamic surface conditions are presented. A multiple array of transducers
setup and methodology are proposed for both the pulse-echo and pitch-catch signals to monitor the fluctuation of the
water height due to disturbance, water flow, and other anomaly conditions.
There is a need for a long-life power generation scheme that could be used downhole in an oil well to produce 1 Watt average power. There are a variety of existing or proposed energy harvesting schemes that could be used in this environment but each of these has its own limitations. The vibrating piezoelectric structure is in principle capable of operating for very long lifetimes (decades) thereby possibly overcoming a principle limitation of existing technology based on rotating turbo-machinery. In order to determine the feasibility of using piezoelectrics to produce suitable flow energy harvesting, we surveyed experimentally a variety of nozzle configurations that could be used to excite a vibrating piezoelectric structure in such a way as to enable conversion of flow energy into useful amounts of electrical power. These included reed structures, spring mass-structures, drag and lift bluff bodies and a variety of nozzles with varying flow profiles. Although not an exhaustive survey we identified a spline nozzle/piezoelectric bimorph system that experimentally produced up to 3.4 mW per bimorph. This paper will discuss these results and present our initial analyses of the device using dimensional analysis and constitutive electromechanical modeling. The analysis suggests that an order-of-magnitude improvement in power generation from the current design is possible.
The ability to penetrate subsurfaces and perform sample acquisition at depth of meters may be critical for future NASA in-situ exploration missions to bodies in the solar system, including Mars and Europa. A corer/sampler was developed with the goal of enabling acquisition of samples from depths of several meters where if used on Mars would be beyond the oxidized and sterilized zone. For this purpose, we developed a rotary-hammering coring drill, called Auto-Gopher, which employs a piezoelectric actuated percussive mechanism for breaking formations and an electric motor that rotates the bit to remove the powdered cuttings. This sampler is a wireline mechanism that can be fed into and retrieved from the drilled hole using a winch and a cable. It includes an inchworm anchoring mechanism allowing the drill advancement and weight on bit control without twisting the reeling and power cables. The penetration rate is being optimized by simultaneously activating the percussive and rotary motions of the Auto-Gopher. The percussive mechanism is based on the Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corer (USDC) mechanism that is driven by piezoelectric stack and that was demonstrated to require low axial preload. The design and fabrication of this device were presented in previous publications. This paper presents the results of laboratory and field tests and lessons learned from this development.
An advanced signal processing methodology is being developed to monitor the height of condensed water thru the wall
of a steel pipe while operating at temperatures as high as 250°C. Using existing techniques, previous study indicated that,
when the water height is low or there is disturbance in the environment, the predicted water height may not be accurate.
In recent years, the use of the autocorrelation and envelope techniques in the signal processing has been demonstrated to
be a very useful tool for practical applications. In this paper, various signal processing techniques including the auto
correlation, Hilbert transform, and the Shannon Energy Envelope methods were studied and implemented to determine
the water height in the steam pipe. The results have shown that the developed method provides a good capability for
monitoring the height in the regular conditions. An alternative solution for shallow water or no water conditions based
on a developed hybrid method based on Hilbert transform (HT) with a high pass filter and using the optimized
windowing technique is suggested. Further development of the reported methods would provide a powerful tool for the
identification of the disturbances of water height inside the pipe.
Ultrasonic probes were designed, fabricated and tested for high temperature health monitoring system. The goal of this work was to develop the health monitoring system that can determine the height level of the condensed water through the pipe wall at high temperature up to 250 °C while accounting for the effects of surface perturbation. Among different ultrasonic probe designs, 2.25 MHz probes with air backed configuration provide satisfactory results in terms of sensitivity, receiving reflections from the target through the pipe wall. A series of tests were performed using the airbacked probes under irregular conditions, such as surface perturbation and surface disturbance at elevated temperature, to qualify the developed ultrasonic system. The results demonstrate that the fabricated air-backed probes combined with advanced signal processing techniques offer the capability of health monitoring of steam pipe under various operating conditions.
Various PZT/epoxy 1-3 composites were investigated for high power applications. “Hard” lead zirconate titanates (PZT4 and PZT8) were chosen for active piezoelectrics owing to their high mechanical quality factors, Qms, while the passive polymers were selected based on the desired properties for high power composites - low elastic loss, low elastic modulus and high thermal conductivity. The results demonstrated that the composites with high thermal conductivity polymers generally have degraded electromechanical properties with significantly decreased mechanical quality factors, whereas the composites filled with low loss and low moduli polymers were found to have higher Qms with higher electromechanical coupling factors kt: Qm ~ 200 and kt ~ 0.68 for PZT4 composites; Qm ~ 400 and kt ~ 0.6 for PZT8 composites. The effects of high drive field on the behavior of 1-3 composites were further investigated by varying active and passive components. Improved high power characteristics of 1-3 piezoelectric composites were achieved by selection of optimized composite components, with enhanced electromechanical efficiency and thermal stability under high drive conditions.