There were eight patents awarded for materials and sensors.
Electrical engineers and aerospace and ocean engineers joined forces to invent a "Fiber optic wall shear stress sensor" (6,426,796). Surface friction, which results in resistance to motion in airplanes and ships, is difficult to measure. The invention uses an optical fiber to measure shear force against a floating head. According to the patent description, "By measuring the small frictional force exerted on a movable element of the surface, one is able to obtain direct measurements of wall shear stress. These types of measurements work well for laminar, transitional and turbulent flows without prior knowledge of the state of the flow." Using a fiber optic sensor overcomes problems from temperature and electromagnetic field sensitivity. The inventors are Wade J. Pulliam, a Ph.D. graduate now on the research faculty at UCLA; Joseph Schetz, professor of aerospace and ocean engineering; Mark E. Jones, vice president of engineering at Luna Analytics; and Kent Murphy, chairman of the board and founder of Luna Innovations Inc. of Blacksburg. The patents is shared by Luna and VTIP.
Fiber and Electro-Optics Research Center (FEORC) director Richard Claus; Tingying Zeng, a research scientist at Nanocluster Materials of Blacksburg; and FEORC research scientist Yanjing Liu received a patent for "Electrostrictive and piezoelectric thin film assemblies and method of fabrication" (6,447,887). Electrostrictive and piezoelectric materials are used in sensors, micro-electromechanical systems, and actuators, but, when an electric field is applied, molecular-level polarization may change the dimensions of the material. Piezoelectric materials, conversely, produce an electrical charge displacement when mechanically strained. By using electrostatic self assembly in conjunction with at least one layer of dipolar material (molecules th
Contact: Mike Martin