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NDTech Newsletter #13


Inspection Crawling Apparatus

The multifunction automated crawling system (MACS) is a
relatively compact, lightweight apparatus utilizing suction
cups to crawl on aircraft and perform inspection tasks. The
MACS functions in any orientation, including vertical or
upside-down. Under remote control or onboard computer
control, the MACS can be maneuvered so that the equipment
that it carries can inspect aircraft and marine structures
for such defects as dents, cracks, corrosion, impact damage,
delamination, fire damage, and porosity. The MACS could also
perform such other tasks as removing paint and carrying
hazardous materials.

The MACS includes a platform, on which are mounted two
piezoelectricmotor-driven legs; a U-shaped outer leg and a
round inner leg. Both legs are equipped with suction cups
(see figure) to grip the surface on which the MACS crawls. A
miniature onboard computer coordinates the operations of the
suction cups and legs. For example, initially, the cups on
the inner leg are evacuated and extended to the surface to
grip the surface, while the cups on the

outer leg are not evacuated and are withdrawn from the
surface so that the outer leg is free to move. The outer leg
is then translated to the next step position. When
necessary, the platform can also be rotated on the inner leg
to change the direction of translation and/or orient the
platform for a specific task. Next, the cups on the outer
leg are extended toward the surface and evacuated, air is
admitted to the cups on the inner leg to release their grip,
these cups are withdrawn from the surface, and the inner leg
is translated so that it catches up with the outer leg. The
cycle is then repeated.

The partial vacuums in the cups are produced by small
venturi pumps that operate on shop compressed air, which is
usually available at pressures from 70 to 120 psi (0.48 to
0.83 MPa). Each cup is connected to a separate pump, so that
if one cup loses vacuum on a rough surface, the others on
the leg still grip the surface. The same supply of
compressed air used to generate suction is also used to
extend the suction cups toward the surface for gripping.

The platform can carry any of a variety of modules; for
example, a video camera for visual inspection, ultrasonic or
eddy-current instrumentation to detect invisible flaws, or a
source of heat to remove paint. The MACS weighs about 10 lb
(4.5 kg) and can carry payloads weighing up to about 100 lb
(45 kg).

This work was done by Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Benjamin Joffe,
and Paul Backes of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical
Support Package (TSP) free online at http://www.nasatech.com
under the Machinery/Automation category, or circle no.
156 on the TSP Order card in this issue to receive a copy by
mail (US$5 charge).

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor
has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries
concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed

Larry Gilbert, Director

Technology Transfer

California Institute of Technology

Mail Code 315-6

Pasadena, CA 91125

(818) 395-3288

Refer to NPO-19847, volume and number of this NASA Tech
Briefs issue, and the page number.

Robot Would
Inspect Hanging Cables

A proposed automated apparatus would travel along a
hanging cable, optically inspecting it all around. The
proposal was made to eliminate lowering human inspectors in
baskets along emergency-egress slidewires at Kennedy Space
Center launch pads. The apparatus would include a motor
drive system, a video camera configured with mirrors for a
36O view of the cable, a data-capturing system, a laser
micrometer, a video transmitter, and a radio transceiver for
command and data signals. The apparatus would be placed on a
cable at one end, then the inspection process would be
initiated. During the process, the apparatus would operate
under the control of a compact, rugged, onboard computer.
Upon reaching the far end of the cable, the apparatus would
automatically reverse itself and return to the starting end.
An electronic neural network could be used, either on board
the apparatus or in the command station, to analyze the
inspection data to determine the integrity of the cable.

This work was done by Robert L. Morrison, Kenneth M.
Nowak, Terencef Ross, Eduardo Lopez del Castillo, Michael D.
Hogue, and Tom Bonner of and Gabor Tamasi formerly of
Kennedy Space Center.

This invention is owned by NASA, and a patent
application has been filed. Inquiries concerning
nonexclusive or exclusive license for its commercial
development should be addressed to the Technology Programs
and Commercialization Office, Kennedy Space Center (407)
867-6373, or for information regarding commercially
available application of this technology contact: Halkin
International at Halkinl@aol.com or telephone (303) 344-9592
(a nonexclusive licensee).

Refer to KSC-12023.

Removal of Red Penetrant Dye From Inspected Welds

A simple procedure has been devised to ensure that
visible (red) penetrant dye that has been used to identify
flaws in a welded surface has been completely removed from
the surface. It is necessary to ensure complete removal
because any residual red dye could interfere with a
subsequent inspection in which ultraviolet illumination and
a fluorescent penetrant dye are used to identify smaller

The procedure consists in applying a reversible
penetrant developer to the surface to be inspected. The
developer contains a fluorescent dye that reacts with, and
thus is eliminated by, the red penetrant dye. Therefore,
when the surface is viewed under ultraviolet illumination,
the residual spots of red penetrant dye stand out as dark
spots against a fluorescent background. Once the removal of
red penetrant dye has been completed and verified by this
procedure, the developer is removed from the surface by
rinsing with water.

This work was done by Jan R. Torkelson of Rockwell
International Corp. for Marshall Space Flight Center. For
further information, call 205.544.0021 referring to


As a national resource of nondestructive evaluation,
inspection, and testing technology, NTIAC provides rapid
response to inquiries, especially where field and military
systems are involved, or where failure may occur. NTIAC
specializes in all aspects of nondestructive evaluation
(NDE), inspection, and testing. From process control to life
extension, NTIAC applies NDE technologies in the broadest
possible sense.

Nondestructive techniques utilize noninvasive methods
and processes involving material-energy interaction to
detect flaws and/or to characterize a material, component,
or entire system. NDE data can be used to reliably predict
performance under a prescribed service regime.

NTIAC's scope includes radiographic, acoustic,
ultrasonic, magnetic, thermal, and other methods; use of
nondestructive sensors for process, and/or adaptive,
control; economic aspects of NDE; industry trends; NDE
research and development, production, maintenance, and
safety monitoring; failure prevention of in-service
material; and life assurance.

For further information, or to order materials, contact


415 Crystal Creek Drive

Austin, TX 78746

Phone: (512) 263-2106 (800) NTIAC 39

Fax: (512) 263-3530

Email: ntiac@access.texas.gov

Website: http://www.dtic.dIa.miI/iac/ntiac/ntiachome.html

NDT Standards
and Specifications Database

This database contains information on over 1500 NDT
related standards, specifications, recommended practices and
requirements from more than 40 sources, including ASTM,
Government and Foreign organizations.

Each record contains title, source organization, issue
date, revision date, NDT method, document number, and
keywords. Most records also include an abstract of the
document's content. Searches can be performed by keyword,
source organization, title, document number, and abstract
text string.

A floppy disk containing the complete NDT Standards and
Specifications Database along with a user's manual, can be
purchased for $150. Bi-annual updates are available at a
cost of $50 per year. This program operates in DOS, and
requires a minimum of a 286 computer, 2 MB RAM and 5 MB of
hard drive memory. No separate database software is needed
to run the program.

Hard copy search results from the database can also be
purchased for a search fee of $20 plus $1 per record.

For further information, or to order materials, contact


415 Crystal Creek Drive

Austin, TX 78746

Phone: (512) 263-2106 (800) NTIAC 39

Fax: (512) 263-3530

Email: ntiac@access.texas.gov

Website: http://www.dtic.dIa.miI/iac/ntiac/ntiachome.html

Evaluation (NDE) Capabilities Databook

This Data Book consolidates and organizes available
reference data for demonstrated NDE performance capabilities
into a single source. Data generated and documented in
various forms over the past 25 years through a number of
government and private programs have been analyzed,
organized and presented in a systematic, common format. .
and ~. Guidelines are presented for selecting options for
use of NDE and for assessing the potential to meet design
requirements (critical flaw detection requirements).
Guidelines for demon-stration of specific NDE process
capabilities are also presented.

Following a 65 page text (7 chapters) describing
various aspects of NDE capabilities quantification,
probability of detection (POD), and damage tolerance
concepts, 229 POD curves are organized and presented in a
series of Appendices. The Appendices are organized by NDE
method to provide reference POD data; NDE procedure
capabilities included in the Data Book are:


ET - Eddy Current Inspection MT - Magnetic Particle

UT - Ultrasonic Inspection VT - Visual Inspection

RT - X-Radiographic Inspection ZT - Emerging Inspection

PT - Liquid Penetrant Inspection (visible and


A documentation page precedes each data-set and
provides a condensed description of the test object, test
artifacts, NDE procedures and results summary. The POD
curves for varying test object, test artifact and data
collection conditions follow the documentation page: POD
data are presented as a function of crack length, and as a
function of crack depth and crack depth-to-thickness ratio
for selected data sets. Original reference source
information is provided for each data set. Materials covered
include: aluminum (2219 T-87 and 2024 T-37), stainless steel
(AMS 355), and titanium-6A14V.

The NDE Capabilities Data Book (publication number
NTIAC DB-95-02) is available in hard copy from NTIAC for
$100 ($1 10 overseas). A three-ring binder format is
utilized to provide flexibility for updating the Data Book
as new NDE data are generated and made available. Raw data
used in developing the Data Book are archived in both hard
copy and electronic form and can be provided for additional

For further information, or to order materials, contact


415 Crystal Creek Drive

Austin, TX 78746

Phone: (512) 263-2106 (800) NTIAC 39

Fax: (512) 263-3530

Email: ntiac@access.texas.gov

Website: http://www.dtic.dIa.miI/iac/ntiac/ntiachome.html

Testing Products and Services Database

This database contains information on over 7,500
companies and organizations worldwide that provide NDT
products, services, instruments, equipment, supplies, and
accessories. The database can be searched by company name,
geographic area (city, state, country, zip code, etc.), NDT
method, products and services provided, or trade names.

Upon request, NTIAC will perform searches of the
Products and Services Database for a charge of $50 for up to
100 "hits" plus $1 for each "hit" over the first 100.
Results can be provided in hard copy or floppy disk format
and include company name, address, phone and fax numbers,
contact persons, and products and services provided
(individual records may not contain information in all of
these fields).

For further information, or to order materials, contact


415 Crystal Creek Drive

Austin, TX 78746

Phone: (512) 263-2106 (800) NTIAC 39

Fax: (512) 263-3530

Email: ntiac@access.texas.gov

Website: http://www.dtic.dIa.miI/iac/ntiac/ntiachome.html

1999 USAF
Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP)

The 1999 ASIP Conference is sponsored by the Materials
and Manufacturing Directorate and the Air Vehicles
Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory and Deputy
for Engineering, Aeronautical systems Center,
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. It is co-sponsored by
the San Antonio Air Logistics Center's Fighter/Trainer
Directorate at Kelly Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
This conference is intended to bring together world leaders
in the area of aircraft structural integrity and associated
technologies to exchange information on the latest
developments in the design and acquisition of new aircraft
systems and the maintenance of aging aircraft systems in
both military and commercial fleets. Attendance for this
internationally recognized conference is unclassified
/unlimited and open. A large number of well-qualified
foreign nationals attend this conference, bringing a broad
perspective to the technology being discussed.

For more information, contact Dr. Jack Lincoln, ASC
/EN, WPAFB, OH at (937) 656-4546 or Universal Technology
Corporation (UTC) at (937) 426-2808 and ask for the 1999
USAF Aircraft Structural Integrity Program Conference

Fax: (937)426-8755.

Website: http://www.asipcon.com


Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive
Evaluation: Volumes 18A and 18B - Donald 0. Thompson and
Dale E. Chimenti. This series provides a comprehensive
review of the latest research results in quantitative
nondestructive evaluation (NDE). Leading investigators
working in government agencies, major industries, and
universities present a broad spectrum of work extending from
basic research to early engineering applications. An
international assembly of noted authorities in NDE
thoroughly cover such topics as: elastic waves, guided
waves, and eddy-current detection, inversion, and modeling;
radiography and computed tomography, thermal techniques, and
acoustic emission; laser ultrasonics, optical methods, and
microwaves; signal processing and image analysis and
reconstruction, with an emphasis on interpretation for
defect detection; and NDE sensors and fields, both
ultrasonic and electromagnetic; engineered materials and
composites, bonded joints, pipes, tubing, and biomedical
materials; linear and nonlinear properties, ultrasonic
backscatter and microstructure, coatings and layers,
residual stress and texture, and construction materials; new
inspection procedures, process control, and probability of

This book will be of interest to investigators in the
fields of materials science and engineering, ceramics and
glass science, electronic materials and devices, and
instrument engineering.

This summary as well as the book can be found at
www.amazon.com. The book is listed at $425.00 and has 2,464
pages. It was published in May 1999.

Nondestructive and Automated Testing for Soil and Rock
Properties &emdash; W. Allen Marr (editor) and Charles
Fairhust (editor) (American Society for Testing and
Materials publication STP-1350). The first publication of
its kind to feature state-of-the-art research on economical
and timely ways to evaluate a wide range of soil and rock
characteristics. Twenty comprehensive peer-reviewed papers
are divided into the following key areas:

• Nondestructive Testing Methods in the
Laboratory&emdash;Evaluation techniques including X-ray
absorption, medical imaging, active and passive acoustic
imaging, and the environmental scanning electron

• Nondestructive Testing in the Field&emdash;Test
methods such as time-domain reflectometry, surface wave
measurement and modeling in drilled rock shafts, and
construction induced vibrations.

• Automated Testing&emdash;In addition to a survey
of geotechnical laboratory automation practices and actual
experience with automated geotechnical testing, such topics
as direct shear testing, modeling pre-failure stress-strain
properties, and the use of an automated triaxial

This summary as well as the book can be found at
http://www.astm.org. This
is listed at $82.00 in North America, $90.00 elsewhere and
has 325 pages. It was published in July 1999.


- On August 24,1999 the United States Navy was issued
Patent #5,942,687:

Method and apparatus for in situ measurement of corrosion
in filled tanks. The inventors are Kirth E. Simmonds,
Narendra K. Batra, and Richard B. Mignogna. This apparatus
allows for the inspection of the base of a liquid-filled
tank using ultrasonic pulses.

- On August 24,1999 the United States Navy was issued
Patent #5,942,748:

Liquid level sensor and detector. The inventors are
Stephen D. Russell and Wadad B. Dubbelday. This system
allows for the detection of luminescence caused by a fluid
in contact with a light emitting photonic structure with a
transparent substrate.

- On July 27, 1999 the United States Army was issued
Patent #5,929,338:

Thickness measurement of in-ground culverts. The
inventors are Julius Frankel, Agostino Abbate, and Stephan
C. Schroeder. This system enables the continuous,
intermittent, or remote command measurement of the thickness
changes of underground culverts under variable temperature
changes, whether above or below the water.

- On July 13, 1999 the United States Department of
Commerce was issued Patent #5,922,961: Time and polarization
resolved acoustic microscope. The inventors are Nelson N.
Hsu, Dan Xiang, and Gerald V. Blessing. The new system
provides for analysis of an olid sample with fluid

- On June 1, 1999 the United States Navy was issued
Patent #5,909,409:

Method and apparatus for underwater acoustic detection
and )location of an object. The inventors are Lewie M.
Barber, Bernie R. Criswell, Allen G. Findelsen, and Benjamin
F. L. Weiss. This method utilizes an underwater combination
of passive and active acoustics to detect and locate a
surfaced or submerged object or target.

- On April 20, 1999 the United States Air Force was
issued Patent #5,895,927: Electro-optic, noncontact,
interior cross-sectional profiler. The inventor is Jeff Lee
Brown. This probe is used to determine the physical
characteristics of an interior surface of a tubular

- On April 20, 1999 the United States Department of
Commerce was issued Patent #5,895,856: Electromagnetic
acoustic transducer and methods of determining physical
properties of cylindrical bodies using an electromagnetic
acoustic transducer. The inventors are Ward L. Johnson,
George A. Alers, and Bertram A. Auld. A transducer is used
to induce and sense vibrations and determine the resonant
frequencies and physical properties in cylindrical

and Symposia Calendar

Nov 22-26: NDTISS '99: International Symposium on
Nondestructive Testing's Contribution to the Infrastructure
Safety Systems in the 21st Century, Torrs, RS, Brazil.
Contact: Edouard G. Nesvijski, Organizing Committee NDTISS
'99, Center of Technology, Federal University of Santa Maria
(UFSM), Campus Universitario, 97105-900, Santa Maria,
Brazil. Fax:

(055) 226-2166. Email: ndtiss@ct.ufsmbr

Nov 29-Dec 3: Symposium on Nondestructive Methods for
Materials Characterization, Hynes Convention Center and
Boston Marnott Copley Place, Boston, MA. Contact: MRS
Headquarters, 506 Keystone Drive, Warrendale, PA 15086-7573.
Phone: (724) 779-3003. Fax: (724) 779-3030. Website:

Nov 30-Dec 2: U.S. Air Force Aircraft Structural
Integrity Program (ASIP) Conference, Hyatt Regency San
Antonio Hotel, San Antonio,

TX. Contact: Dr. Jack Lincoln, ASC/EN, WPAFB, OH at
(937)255-5312, fax: (937) 656-4546 or the 1999 USAF

Structural Integrity Program Conference Desk at Universal
Technology Corporation (UTC) at (937) 426-2808, fax:

426-8755. Website: http://www.asipcon.com

New to the

Free science database from the DOE

The Dept. of Energy's Office of Scientific and Technical
Information, Oak Ridge, Tenn., has just made available the
first version of PubSCIENCE, a comprehensive new database of
papers in the physical sciences. The database offers
searchable free Internet access to titles, authors, and
abstracts from hundreds of journals. Once the user locates
an abstract of interest, a hyperlink provides access to the
publisher's server to obtain the full article text.


Manufacturing Marketplace provides a portal to the
industrial news, shopping, classifieds, and links to dozens
of trade magazines.


Invention web site from MIT provides information on
inventions, hosts an "inventor of the week" competition, and
lists dozens of useful links.


The US Patent and Trademark Office site contains a
searchable database of patents and trademarks, as well as
guides to filing patents and relevant forms in PDF


The collection of links by Sansalone Process Engineering
Language Services include dictionaries for process
engineers, international patent materials, and useful sites
for researchers in chemistry, physics, semiconductors,
vacuum/thin film, and more. http://www.sansalone.de/engl/links.htm

Web program helps manufacturers

A new web tool called Manufacturing Efficiency Decision
Support (MEDS) can help manufacturers compare and evaluate
manufacturing technologies. MEDS can provide users with
information on performance, cost, energy, and environmental
implications of more than 175 technologies in areas such as
fabricated metals, plastics, and electronics. The tool
provides background information, economic and technical
feasibility, case studies, and vendor information. MEDS also
allows users to conduct "what if" analyses by altering
variables, such as budget constraints. The Michigan
Manufacturing Technology Center developed MEDS with funding
from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


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