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NASA Transfers Damping Technology to TopLine

Jan. 31, 2017
NASA has licensed TopLine to produce a vibration-mitigating invention designed to extend the lifetimes of PCBs in high-vibration environments.
The NASA-invented particle impact damper (PID) protects PCBs against damage from vibration. (Courtesy of TopLine)

NASA has granted an exclusive worldwide license to electronic components and packaging manufacturer TopLine for a particle damping technology, which is intended to ease the effects of vibration on printed circuit boards (PCBs). The NASA invention is described in U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 14/196,203 entitled “Vibration Dimpling Device for Circuit Card Assemblies,” and refers to a particle impact damper (PID) designed to absorb vibrations that would otherwise impact circuit card assemblies.

Developed at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, the invention provides a solution for PCBs and their components that must operate in environments characterized by harsh vibration, such onboard aircraft. The PID is mounted near the geometric center of a PCB (see figure) where the forces from vibration are the greatest. Kinetic energy from the vibrations is transferred to the PID and its center-mounted tungsten balls, which provide a significant reduction in the effects of vibration for the PCB.

The PIDs are manufactured with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components and can be applied to applications in commercial, industrial, and military areas. The PIDs can be mounted to a PCB by numerous mounting methods, including snap-in mounting, surface-mount soldering, epoxy mounting, and screw mounting.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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