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Measurement of Mass Using Simple Harmonic Motion with Active Spring and Active Damping

Abstract: 

A method for measuring the masses of objects in any gravity environment, including microgravity or zero gravity. An object is placed on or attached to a platform that is movable back and forth along a single axis of motion. An actuator is used to oscillate the platform and is controlled to provide a variable spring force. Instantaneous displacement values are obtained and used to calculate the period of oscillation. Values representing the period, the tare mass of the platform, and the spring constant are then used to calculate the mass of the object. The method may use active damping, and may be varied so that the oscillations are angular rather than linear.

Patent Number: 
5,902,964
Date Of Issue: 
05/11/1999
Inventors: 

Ruell Floyd Solberg, Jr.;H. Stanley Silvus