San Diego, CA, United States
San Diego, CA, United States

General Atomics is a defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, California, specializing in nuclear physics. General Atomics' research into nuclear fission and nuclear fusion has also had bearing on related technologies, allowing the company to expand into other fields of research and manufacturing. General Atomics develops systemsTemplate:What? ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to remotely operated surveillance aircraft, airborne sensors, advanced electric, electronic, wireless, and laser technologies. Wikipedia.


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Patent
General Atomics | Date: 2016-09-07

A system for growing an algal culture to create a biomass includes a plurality of linearly interconnected, sloped-gradient, gravity-driven, raceway ponds. Surface areas of the ponds are sequentially increased in accordance with a multiplier, with the pond surface area of the last raceway pond in the sequence being as large as fifty acres. For the present invention, a fluid transfer system connects each raceway pond with every other raceway pond in the system. Control over each individual raceway pond is provided to monitor and evaluate algal culture in the pond. Based on this evaluation, the fluid transfer system is activated to provide water, nutrients and other additives to maintain predetermined growth parameters for algae in each of the raceway ponds.


A system and method for creating a useful carbon-enriched media in a reactor which wall assimilate carbon into an algae biomass, requires measuring a respective carbon concentration of the media, C as it enters, and as it leaves the reactor. Operationally, desired carbon concentration values are preset, C, and are provided along with values obtained for C as input to a system controller. Respective differentials between C and C at the reactors input and output ports are determined by the controller and are used to control a volumetric fluid flow rate of the media through the reactor. Specifically, the controller establishes a volumetric fluid flow rate of the media as it is passed through an absorber where the media is carbon-enriched by interaction with combustion gases from an external source (e.g. a power plant).


Methods and systems are generally described that inhibit debris (such as ice) accretions and/or remove debris (such as ice) accretions from the exterior surface of an aircraft. In some embodiments, the invention is a system for an aircraft comprising: a component of the aircraft having a surface; a plurality of piezo-kinetic actuators each positioned proximate to a portion of the surface; and a control unit coupled to the plurality of actuators, the control unit configured to actuate one or more of the actuators at one or more frequencies; wherein the actuators are each configured to introduce a displacement of the surface in three dimensions to inhibit a formation of ice on at least the portion of the surface and to break up existing ice formations on at least the portion of the surface.


Patent
General Atomics | Date: 2015-10-07

Apparatus and methods are disclosed for controlling the flow of a fluid over the window (615) of an optical instrument housing (600) in a freestream flow field (700). For example, the flow upstream of the housing may be split by an arcuate surface (510) having a curvature to create a flow region (715) over the window that is conducive to successful operation of the instrument. The flow region may be maintained for various rotations of the housing about yaw, pitch, and roll axes. The disclosed features in some embodiments induce flow regions with reduced spatial and temporal density gradients of the flow over the window.


Patent
General Atomics | Date: 2015-02-04

Some embodiments provide apparatuses configured to deploy a landing gear of an aircraft, comprising: a landing gear coupler configured to couple with the landing gear; a release link configured to cooperate the landing gear coupler with a drive shaft that is configured to drive the landing gear between a stowed position and a deployed position; an override driver cooperated with the landing gear coupler; wherein the release link is configured to releasably maintain a relative position of landing gear coupler relative to the drive shaft, and the release link is configured to disengage a coupling between the drive shaft and the landing gear coupler such that the landing gear coupler is configured to move independent of the drive shaft; and wherein the override driver is configured to drive the landing gear coupler to the deployed position.


A device for generating a pulsed flow in a channel containing a circulating algal culture can include a plate that is pivotably mounted on the channel and an activator. A pulsed flow is generated in the channel by first positioning the plate to impede the flow of circulating algal culture and then rotating the plate to a submerged position. The pulsed flow can be employed to counteract the negative effects of bio-fouling on algae cultivation equipment. In another arrangement, a device for generating a pulsed flow in a sloped raceway that is in fluid communication with a sump can include a gate. In different embodiments, the gate can operate as a so-called pinch gate or as a so-called overflow gate. In another aspect, a variable rate pump, such as a centrifugal pump, a screw pump or an airlift pump, is described for establishing a pulsed flow in a channel.


Patent
General Atomics | Date: 2015-08-05

Some embodiments provide apparatuses configured to deploy a landing gear of an aircraft, comprising: a landing gear coupler 312 configured to couple with the landing gear; a release link 314 configured to cooperate the landing gear coupler with a drive shaft 114 that is configured to drive the landing gear between a stowed position and a deployed position; an override driver 316 cooperated with the landing gear coupler; wherein the release link is configured to releasably maintain a relative position of landing gear coupler relative to the drive shaft, and the release link is configured to disengage a coupling between the drive shaft and the landing gear coupler such that the landing gear coupler is configured to move independent of the drive shaft; and wherein the override driver is configured to drive the landing gear coupler to the deployed position.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 636.71K | Year: 2015

In a tokamak, the conditions for fusion energy are achieved by confining a hot plasma using a toroidal configuration of magnetic field. Thus, the magnetic field lines lie on a set of toroidal flux surfaces that are nested like a set of Russian dolls. All magnetic field lines on a given flux surface are usually equivalent and, specifically, all carry the same current. However, under certain situations this state can bifurcate to one where some field lines carry more current than others. This filamentation of the current density effectively tears the flux surface apart, creating a chain of so-called magnetic islands. The instability responsible for this is called a tearing mode. Such islands are detrimental to confinement, and therefore it is important to understand the physics of tearing modes. A particularly problematic instability is called the neoclassical tearing mode, or NTM. Small current filaments initially create small so-called seed islands. These seed islands reinforce the current filamentation, resulting in a positive feedback mechanism that causes the magnetic islands to grow extremely large. The degradation in confinement causes a drop in the core plasma pressure and a consequent loss in fusion power in a tokamak like ITER. However, this amplification mechanism is only observed when the initial seed island width exceeds a certain threshold of a few centimetres. Although we have ideas for the physics mechanisms that lie behind this threshold, there is no predictive quantitative model. This is largely because for small islands, the distribution of ions in both real and velocity space is important - a 6-dimensional problem. We have developed an expansion in the small ratio of the island width to system size that has enabled us to reduce the system to 4-dimensions - two spatial and two velocity components. Our initial studies indicate that this problem is tractable on modern high end computers, providing a predictive capability for the threshold for neoclassical tearing modes - a key ingredient for specifying the NTM control system on ITER, for example. In a second application of the theory, we are interested in a situation where the magnetic islands are induced by the tokamak operator. This is achieved by applying so-called resonant magnetic perturbations, or RMPs, to the plasma using a set of current-carrying coils. The motivation for this is to provide a control system for a repetitive sequence of tokamak plasma eruptions, called edge-localised modes, or ELMs. In an ELM, large filaments of plasma erupt from the surface in an event that is reminiscent of solar flares. We believe that these are driven by steep pressure gradients that form near the plasma edge. By driving small magnetic islands in this steep pressure gradient region with RMPs, it is expected that the pressure gradient can be reduced in a controlled way to just below that necessary to trigger an ELM. This is key for ITER, where uncontrolled ELMs will cause excessive erosion of its components at full fusion power. While the technique works on some tokamaks, it does not work on others. To understand this, we need improved models for how the plasma responds to magnetic islands that are driven externally - will it amplify them, as in the case of the NTM, or heal them? This understanding will help specify the ELM control system on ITER. We will develop a new high end computing code to calculate the kinetic plasma response to both natural and driven magnetic islands, using the model we have derived by an analytic reduction of the so-called drift-kinetic theory. Knowledge of the plasma response will enable us to quantify the current filamentation, and hence identify the conditions for which the plasma tends to amplify magnetic islands and when it heals them. We will work with experimentalists to design tests for our predictions against data from todays tokamaks, and make predictions for the requirements of the instability control systems on ITER.


Patent
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and General Atomics | Date: 2016-04-15

A method of making large ultrathin free-standing polymer films without use of a sacrificial layer includes the steps of providing a substrate, applying a polyelectrolyte material to said substrate, applying a polymer material onto said substrate and onto said polyelectrolyte material, and directly delaminating said polymer material from said substrate and said polyelectrolyte to produce the ultrathin free-standing polymer film.


Patent
General Atomics | Date: 2015-05-22

Methods, systems, and devices are disclosed for implementing lightning strike protective compositions. In one aspect, a composition for providing protection against electrical discharges (e.g., including lightning strikes) for composite structures includes a binder material capable of dispersing material structures therein and attaching to a surface of a substrate, and a plurality of pigment structures dispersed in the binder material. The pigment structures include a central layer including an electrically conducting material, and outer layers formed on the central layer, in which the outer layers include an optical absorber material or a dielectric material. The composition, when attached to the substrate, is capable of providing electrically conductive paths to transfer electrical current from a multi kiloamp electrical discharge within the composition.

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