UPDATE #48 - January 22, 1999
QuestChats require pre-registration. Unless otherwise noted, registration is at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/chats Tuesday, January 26, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Standard Time: Rabi Mehta, senior research scientist Rabi is interested in wind tunnel design and sports ball aerodynamics. He has helped with the renovation of the Ames including the 12' wind tunnel renovation project. His interests have encouraged him to study how baseballs, golf balls, and tennis balls fly, and what affects them during flight. Currently, he is writing a book called "The Aerodynamics of Cricket Ball," and is involved research in which special paints are used to measure pressures on the surfaces of models. Read Rabi Mehta's autobiography prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/rabi.html Plan ahead for February Black History Chats February is Black History Month. To celebrate, NASA Quest will host a series of chats with African American scientists and engineers who contribute their work to the missions and goals of NASA. Below is the current schedule which may be added to over time. The chat sessions begin on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 2:30 p.m. EST with Dr. Aprille Ericsson-Jackson, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. Thursday, February 4, 1999, 12:30 PM Pacific Standard Time: Anne Corwin, engineering aide In addition to being an intern and a full-time student, Anne assists the staff of the 40x80- and 80x120-foot wind tunnels with anything they need help with. So lately she's very busy getting ready for the Wright Flyer Wind Tunnel Test. Read Anne Corwin's autobiography prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/corwin.html Tuesday, February 9, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Standard Time: Chris Lockwood, lead engineer, Balance Calibration Lab Chris works with a team of four engineers who meet with principal investigators or test engineers responsible for conducting tests of models in wind tunnels. Chris' team is responsible for ensuring that all the loads going to wind tunnel balances are measured accurately. They must also make sure that data are processed and equations provided to allow wind tunnel engineers to determine what is happening to a model. Read Chris Lockwood's autobiography prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/team/clockwood.html Wednesday, February 10, 1999, 10 AM Pacific Standard Time: Tom Glasgow, materials scientist For the past several years, Tom has helped design experiments and equipment for space shuttle microgravity science experiments. He has also helped develop new materials for jet engines and rocket motors, and invented a new rocket engine material that stands up to 6000 degree F combustion temperature. Read Tom Glasgow's autobiography prior to joining this chat. http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/team/glasgow.html
Collaborative Events! Several new aeronautics projects have students working collaboratively online. One activity is targeted for elementary and middle school classes. Two others will be for high school or junior high school kids. These higher end activities might not be done as an entire class; other users may include science clubs, GATE kids or science fair folk. The ELEMENTARY / MIDDLE SCHOOL - Right Flying: students improve glider designs. Next session starts in February. The HIGH SCHOOL / JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - Free Flight Analysis:students analyze glider flight with imaging techniques. Next session starts in February. and HIGH SCHOOL / JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL - Wind Tunnel Online Design students work together to design small wind tunnels. Session has begun but late comers are welcome. For more detailed summaries of these three activities, go to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/events/collaborative/index.html - - - - - - - Teacher Chat on Wind Tunnel Data Lessons Recognizing that some teachers might have some questions about the Wind Tunnel Data Lessons, http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/teachers/ we are planning a chat with Suzanne Ashby, Curriculum Specialist who has written some of the data lessons. We are asking for your suggestions as to what time of day would work for you. The chat is currently planned for February 23, 1999. We would also be interested in any particular questions you want answered during the event. Send your time suggestions and topic questions to firstname.lastname@example.org We'll try to get your questions answered. - - - - - - January Art Contest for Grades 1-8 Looking for an outlet for your (students) artistic talents? Start with a line drawing of the Wright Flyer and create a drawing in the style of Wassily Kandinsky, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, or Andy Warhol. We can't wait to see what you come up with!!! For details go to http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/events/contest/art.html - - - - - - - 1903 Wright Flyer Model Status Actuators, Dust, Rollstop and the Press No this is not the latest rock and roll band,it's just some of the test preparations being made!! Actuators are devices designed to create motion. Last weekend the AIAA Wright Flyer Team came to NASA Ames Research Center to work the actuators that will move the canard, the rudder and make the wings move or twist. These will be controlled remotely in the "Control Room" of the Wind Tunnel using a control panel built by the AIAA members. Marilyn Ramsey shared this news: "I am not sure it has sunk in as yet, as to how close we are to the test! On 2/13, we have scheduled our final power test before going into the tunnel. That will be a loooooong day. The last time, I think everyone came in at 8:00 am, and we finally sent out for pizza at about 2:00 p.m.! I think we finished at around 4:30 p.m.. I vacuumed the airplane (for the first time since the trip from Los Angeles) last weekend, and it is white again! I just have to finish up the one side of the top wing. I was kidding with one of the guys. (Picture the airplane wind tunnel test tape playing back on a TV news station. The commentator says, "We are now going to see the Wright Flyer wind tunnel test........ Uhhh, we seem to be experiencing a little fog, and it should be clearing momentarily".......) That's how dusty it was! Turn those fans on and we would have a white out! ;-)" The rollstop design was finalized and sent to the metals shop to be fabricated. This will prevent the model from rolling too far. The public affairs office it beginning to plan for a day when the press can come see the Wright Flyer. Look for it on you local news in early March.
[Editor's Note: This is one of my journals. Everyone else is too busy to jot one down this week.]
SAY BAL CAL LAB TEN TIMES FAST!!
by Susan Lee January 22, 1999 Just before Christmas I went over to the Balance Calibration Laboratory with my two high school interns in tow. See their version of this visit at http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/wright/tunnels/balcallab.html We wanted to see if we could get some video tape of the laboratory and the automatic calibration machine. One of the students was interested in video on the Internet and this was her chance. Most people say that the balance works like the bathroom scales. It's a little bit more complicated than that. Scott Lijon showed us some of the strain gages that will be used for the Wright Flyer Test. These looked like little metal tubes with tiny multi-colored metal wires coming out of them. Phil Luan explained to us that one of the gages measures normal forces, and another measures axial force. These will be translated into lift and drag of the airplane. This information is relayed as an electrical signal that gets translated by software into pounds (lbs.) of lift and drag. Altogether the 6 gages in the balance will measure lift, drag, and side forces as well as pitch, yaw and roll. Basically if you make these measurements you will know if the plane will fly and when it will stall and how to operate it safely, like whether it has enough lift to carry elephants or just people. They had lots of different balances there; each is designed to work within different ranges of measurement. Think of this as the difference between a baby's scale and a grown-up's scale. So what's all this about calibration? Phil explained that they want to make sure that the measurements made by the balance are accurate and repeatable. That means they can trust the results they get in the wind tunnel. How can they be sure that the balance measures 100 lbs. of weight as 100 lbs. of weight? They have metal disks that they hang from the balance. They know how much each disk weighs and then they check the measurement the balance makes. Well if that wasn't exciting enough, they have built a new machine that uses actuators (a device designed to create motion, "little push-and-pullers" if you will) to test the balance. This is one of the new wonders of modern science. They won't have to hang weights from the balance they will be able to just put it in the automatic calibration machine and test away!! The good news is: we expect to get accurate measurements for the Wright Flyer test when we turn on the wind in the wind tunnel. I wonder how the model will hold up. Here's hoping it comes through with flying colors!!
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