August 12, 2015 10:30:47 AM

Advances in aerospace particulate monitoring

Written by Rachel Garcia

Advances in aerospace particulate monitoring

Aerospace greets a new dawn: Private companies now compete for opportunities to explore the boundaries of space. These ongoing aerospace opportunities demand newer ideas for detecting and reducing particulate contamination. Fewer particle-induced defects lead to higher yields, lower cost and greater reinvestments in aerospace development. Combined with the rapid advances in microelectromechanical systems (MEMs), detecting nanoparticles is critical. There are emerging particle counting technologies for aerospace industries that give data analysis to help decisions on mission-critical operations and minimize particulates in processes.

Minimizing particle contamination begins at filtration, continues into flight hardware, vehicle launch and onto interplanetary missions. Sub-micron particle counters continue their invaluable role in aerospace operations, and new technologies are starting to bring options for people where they can select channels specific to their monitoring interests and analyze more meaningful data. These type of advances in nanoparticle counting technology give higher flow rates, more data and what we all want to ensure - less false counts.

The ability to detect nanoparticles has existed for many years, but the technology was slow, complicated and required frequent maintenance. Within the past couple years, inventive nanoparticle counters are emerging such as the Nano-ID® NPC 10 NanoParticle Counter, which automatically starts capturing nanoparticle data without user interaction. Personnel are the number one source of particle contamination in a clean process. Eliminating or reducing user interaction improves cleanliness levels. These instruments exist and sample faster for more data per unit time and don’t require maintenance when used in normal operating conditions.

Some of the latest technologies that meet the needs of this new competitive aerospace era were covered at the recent 2015 NASA workshop, Contamination, Coatings, Materials and Planetary Protection. PMS Senior Global Applications Engineer Steve Kochevar discussed how private and government aerospace entities can thrive using these latest technologies.

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A note from the presenter:

"Given the new competitive landscape of aerospace exploration, this presentation gives insights to new innovative contamination monitoring techniques and instrumentation"
----Steve Kochevar, Senior Global Applications Engineer