Profile of Stanley Woodard, NASA Aerospace Engineer

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Dr. Stanley E Woodard, is an aerospace engineer at NASA Langley Research Center. Stanley Woodard received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from Duke University in 1995. Woodard also has bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from Purdue and Howard University, respectively.

Since coming to work at NASA Langley in 1987, Stanley Woodard has earned many NASA awards, including three Outstanding Performance Awards and a Patent Award.

In 1996, Stanley Woodard won the Black Engineer of the Year Award for Outstanding Technical Contributions. In 2006, he was one of four researchers at NASA Langley recognized by the 44th Annual R&D 100 Awards in the electronic equipment category. He was a 2008 NASA Honor Award Winner for exceptional service in the research and development of advanced dynamics technologies for NASA missions.

Magnetic Field Response Measurement Acquisition System

Imagine a wireless system that's truly wireless. It doesn't need a battery or a receiver, unlike most "wireless" sensors that must be electrically connected to a power source, so it can safely be put almost anywhere.

"The cool thing about this system is that we can make sensors that don't need any connections to anything," said Dr. Stanley E. Woodard, senior scientist at NASA Langley. "And we can completely encapsulate them in any electrically nonconductive material, so they can be put in lots of different locations and protected from the environment around them.

Plus we can measure different properties using the same sensor."

NASA Langley scientists initially came up with the idea of the measurement acquisition system to improve aviation safety. They say airplanes could use this technology in a number of locations. One would be fuel tanks where a wireless sensor would virtually eliminate the possibility of fires and explosions from faulty wires arcing or sparking.

Another would be landing gear. That was where the system was tested in partnership with landing gear manufacturer, Messier-Dowty, Ontario, Canada. A prototype was installed in a landing gear shock strut to measure hydraulic fluid levels. The technology allowed the company to easily measure levels while the gear was moving for the first time ever and cut the time to check the fluid level from five hours to one second.

Traditional sensors use electrical signals to measure characteristics, such as weight, temperature, and others. NASA's new technology is a small hand-held unit that uses magnetic fields to power sensors and gather measurements from them. That eliminates wires and the need for direct contact between the sensor and the data acquisition system.

"Measurements that were difficult to do before because of implementation logistics and environment are now easy with our technology," said Woodard. He is one of four researchers at NASA Langley recognized by the 44th Annual R&D 100 Awards in the electronic equipment category for this invention.

List of Issued Patents

  • #7255004, August 14, 2007, Wireless fluid level measuring system
    A level-sensing probe positioned in a tank is divided into sections with each section including (i) a fluid-level capacitive sensor disposed along the length thereof, (ii) an inductor electrically coupled to the capacitive sensor, (iii) a sensor antenna positioned for inductive coupl
  • 7231832, June 19, 2007, System and method for detecting cracks and their location.
    A system and method are provided for detecting cracks and their location in a structure. A circuit coupled to a structure has capacitive strain sensors coupled sequentially and in parallel to one another. When excited by a variable magnetic field, the circuit has a resonant frequency tha
  • #7159774, January 9, 2007, Magnetic field response measurement acquisition system
    Magnetic field response sensors designed as passive inductor-capacitor circuits produce magnetic field responses whose harmonic frequencies correspond to states of physical properties for which the sensors measure. Power to the sensing element is acquired using Faraday induction.
  • #7086593, August 8, 2006, Magnetic field response measurement acquisition system
    Magnetic field response sensors designed as passive inductor-capacitor circuits produce magnetic field responses whose harmonic frequencies correspond to states of physical properties for which the sensors measure. Power to the sensing element is acquired using Faraday induction.
  • #7075295, July 11, 2006, Magnetic field response sensor for conductive media
    A magnetic field response sensor comprises an inductor placed at a fixed separation distance from a conductive surface to address the low RF transmissivity of conductive surfaces. The minimum distance for separation is determined by the sensor response. The inductor should be separat
  • #7047807, May 23, 2006, Flexible framework for capacitive sensing
    A flexible framework supports electrically-conductive elements in a capacitive sensing arrangement. Identical frames are arranged end-to-end with adjacent frames being capable of rotational movement therebetween. Each frame has first and second passages extending therethrough and par
  • #7019621, March 28, 2006, Methods and apparatus to increase sound quality of piezoelectric devices
    A piezoelectric transducer comprises a piezoelectric component, an acoustic member attached to one of the surfaces of the piezoelectric component and a dampening material of low elastic modulus attached to one or both surfaces of the piezoelectric transducer.
  • #6879893, April 12, 2005, Tributary analysis monitoring system
    A monitoring system for a fleet of vehicles includes at least one data acquisition and analysis module (DAAM) mounted on each vehicle in the fleet, a control module on each vehicle in communication with each DAAM, and terminal module located remotely with respect to the vehicles in the
  • #6259188, July 10, 2001, Piezoelectric vibrational and acoustic alert for a personal communication device
    An alert apparatus for a personal communication device includes a mechanically prestressed piezoelectric wafer positioned within the personal communication device and an alternating voltage input line coupled at two points of the wafer where polarity is recognized.