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Magnetic Relief Valve

A side view of the relief valve sections (left), and a view inside the relief valve (right). A magnetically retained pressure-relief valve enables quick-open on/off operation when overpressure is reached.Inventors at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have developed a magnetically retained, fast-response pressure relief valve that is designed to fully open at precise cracking pressures, and that operates in a fully open/fully closed manner. The use of a magnetically controlled relief valve, as opposed to a spring-based relief valve, enables quick-open on/off relief operation when overpressure is reached. This is due to the rapid decay of the magnetic field as the fluid medium pushes the valve poppet to an open position. Spring-based relief valves require increasing pressure and force to continually compress the spring and open the relief valve. This requirement greatly complicates the design of a system relief mechanism. A magnetic relief valve reduces these design complexities by eliminating the spring.

Posted in: Briefs, Fluid Handling, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Magnetic materials, Valves

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Work Piece Cleaning Apparatus and Method with Pulsating Mixture of Liquid and Gas

NASA Goddard’s scientists have developed a novel, volatile organic compound (VOC)-free system for cleaning tubing and piping that significantly reduces cost and carbon consumption. The innovative technology enables the use of deionized water in place of costlier isopropyl alcohol (IPA), and does not create any waste for which costly disposal is usually required. It uses nitrogen bubbles in water, which act as a scrubbing agent to clean equipment. The cleaning system quickly and precisely removes all foreign matter from tubing and piping.

Posted in: Briefs, Fluid Handling, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Water, Tools and equipment, Gases

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Safety Drain System for Fluid Reservoir

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a system that reduces the entrapment risks associated with a pool or spa’s recirculation drain. The technology prevents hazards caused by suction forces on the body, hair, clothing, or other articles. Employing a novel configuration of drainage openings along with parallel paths for water flow, the system redistributes force over a much larger area, minimizing suction force at any localized area. With more efficient drainage and recirculation, the device improves performance, increases safety, and decreases operating costs. The technology can also provide thorough chemical mixing, which improves processes in systems and allows continued operation in the event of localized debris clogging a portion of the recirculation area. All of these benefits come without a protrusive drain cover, leaving the area safe and aesthetically pleasing.

Posted in: Briefs, Fluid Handling, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Water, Human factors, Parts

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Locking Mechanism for a Flexible Composite Hinge

This compact, self-deploying and locking boom has application in deployable booms, commercial satellites, and robotic vehicles that require high-data-rate communications.Composites have excellent strength characteristics, are lightweight, and are increasingly being used in space applications. However, they are highly inflexible and require hinged joints when used as deployable structures. This is a challenge for CubeSats/SmallSats, as the hinges and actuation mechanisms get very small and require multiple custom precision parts. A method of impregnating carbon fibers with a silicone matrix has been developed, which makes the composite flexible. This also makes it self-deploying, as the strain energy in the fibers will cause it to straighten. Unfortunately, a purely flexible beam does not have the required rigidity to maintain dimensions accuracy, as it can sag.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Composite materials, Lightweight materials, Materials properties, Parts, Satellites

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Temperature-Compensating PMT Housing

Shrinking or contracting light guides is a problem when photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) are glued to the guides. If there is no way to allow movement of the PMTs, when the temperature goes down, the light guide contracts and breaks the glue joint. The PMTs cannot be left loose to rattle around inside the detector. They must be held precisely, yet gently, and allowed to move.

Posted in: Briefs, Fluid Handling, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Optics, Thermodynamics, Adhesives and sealants

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Air Compressor

Gardner Denver Thomas (Sheboygan, WI) offers the 2380 series twin WOB-L® piston oil-less air compressor designed for pressure/vacuum and high flow. It provides 100 psi (6.9 bar) maximum pressure with open flow of 2.3 cfm (65 l/min). The air compressor is fan-cooled and has a one-piece monolithic head. Weighing 12 pounds, it is 9.31" (236.5 mm) long × 5.14" (130.6 mm) wide × 6.73" (171 mm) high. The twin-cylinder design helps provide reliability, low vibration, and quiet operation.

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Automotive, Mechanical Components, Automotive

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High-Speed Backplane Connector System

Samtec (New Albany, IN) has expanded its ExaMAX® High-Speed Backplane Connector System optimized for high-density and high-speed performance. The ExaMAX® header and right-angle receptacle system (EBTM/EBTF-RA Series) is optimized for speeds up to 28 Gbps on a 2.00 mm column pitch or 56 Gbps on a 3.00 mm column pitch. For 28 Gbps performance, this system meets and exceeds OIF-CEI-28G-LR specifications. Return loss compliance is achieved in both 85 Ω and 100 Ω systems due to targeting the 92 Ω specifications and controlling reflections at all geometry transitions within the connector.Click here to learn more.

Posted in: Products, Mechanical Components

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