The design of the present laser optical torquemeter arose from the need to measure the mechanical power furnished by a prototype of chirale turbine, which exploits the lift force produced in the rotor, due to the "Magnus effect." The particular optical reading system allows the device to determine both the torque and the mechanical power. The torque value is obtained through the reading of the torsional angle. From this value, together with that of the transmission shaft angular speed measured by the same torquemeter, the mechanical power of the turbine is calculated. The optical system output signals are acquired, processed and elaborated by a virtual logic circuit, simulated by means of a suitable home-made software in LabVIEW environment. The torquemeter has been tested operating with the prototype of turbine in a wind tunnel.
Previous work by the authors showed that the endurance limit of specimens, or mechanical components, can be predicted using thermal infrared imagery. The new technique enables the determination of the fatigue strength limit in a comparatively short period of time (few thousands cycles), and using very few specimens (theoretically only 1). The present work applies this technique to rotating-bending test specimens of austempered ductile iron, an alloy whose fatigue limit is, due to the high scatter dispersion of the data points and the long testing period required, generally difficult to determine by the traditional technique. This material exhibited higher fatigue strength than the familiar nodular cast iron. This was confirmed by the results derived from the traditional Wohler test and the new technique, and supported by the data gathered from literature.