Mechanical Components

An Active Heater Control Concept to Meet IXO Type Mirror Module Thermal-Structural Distortion Requirement

This innovation offers a number of advantages in terms of reduced mass, problem of routing, and the risk of x-ray attenuation. Flight mirror assemblies (FMAs) of large telescopes, such as the International X-ray Observatory (IXO), have very stringent thermal-structural distortion requirements. The spatial temperature gradient requirement within a FMA could be as small as 0.05 °C. Conventionally, heaters and thermistors are attached to the stray light baffle (SLB), and centralized heater controllers (i.e., heater controller boards located in a large electronics box) are used. Due to the large number of heater harnesses, accommodating and routing them is extremely difficult. The total harness length/mass is very large. This innovation uses a thermally conductive pre-collimator to accommodate heaters and a distributed heater controller approach. It minimizes the harness length and mass, and reduces the problem of routing and accommodating them.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Wind, Wave, and Tidal Energy Without Power Conditioning

Most present wind, wave, and tidal energy systems require expensive power conditioning systems that reduce overall efficiency. This new design eliminates power conditioning all, or nearly all, of the time.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Integrated Electrical Wire Insulation Repair System

An integrated system tool will allow a technician to easily and quickly repair damaged high-performance electrical wire insulation in the field. Low-melt polyimides have been developed that can be processed into thin films that work well in the repair of damaged polyimide or fluoropolymer insulated electrical wiring. Such thin films can be used in wire insulation repairs by affixing a film of this lowmelt polyimide to the damaged wire, and heating the film to effect melting, flow, and cure of the film. The resulting repair is robust, lightweight, and small in volume. The heating of this repair film is accomplished with the use of a common electrical soldering tool that has been modified with a special head or tip that can accommodate the size of wire being repaired.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Apparatus for Pumping a Fluid

There are no rotating or moving parts apart from bellows. A fluid pump has been developed for mechanically pumped fluid loops for spacecraft thermal control. Lynntech’s technology utilizes a proprietary electrochemically driven pumping mechanism. Conventional rotodynamic and displacement pumps typically do not meet the stringent power and operational reliability requirements of space applications. Lynntech’s developmental pump is a highly efficient solid-state pump with essentially no rotating or moving components (apart from metal bellows).

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Sandwich Core Heat-Pipe Radiator for Power and Propulsion Systems

This technology has a potential use for residential or commercial radiant heating systems using lower-cost materials of construction. Next-generation heat-pipe radiator technologies are being developed at the NASA Glenn Research Center to provide advancements in heat-rejection systems for space power and propulsion systems. All spacecraft power and propulsion systems require their waste heat to be rejected to space in order to function at their desired design conditions. The thermal efficiency of these heat-rejection systems, balanced with structural requirements, directly affect the total mass of the system.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Deflection of Stretched Circular Membrane Under Pressure

Previously reported equations are generalized to account for a stretch preload. Equations have been derived to describe the deflection of a circular membrane under both in-plane and transverse loads. More specifically, the equations describe the radial (in-plane) and perpendicular-to-the-plane deflections for the case of a circular membrane that has been stretched at its periphery with a uniform preload to keep it taut, then clamped rigidly at its periphery, and then subjected to differential pressure.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Rock Gripper for Sampling, Mobility, Anchoring, and Manipulation

This spine/claw-based technology has applications in military robots that need to climb natural rock surfaces or caves for reconnaissance purposes, or for revealing buried explosive devices. A new gripper mechanism can be used as an end effector for a long arm that reaches out from a nearby spacecraft for a touch-and-go type of mission. The gripper would stabilize the arm and allow samples to be collected and in situ science to be done from a fixed platform. In the long term, this style of gripper could even be used as handholds for astronauts trying to move about on/near small asteroids. The prototype developed has demonstrated a 120 N gripping force, and improvements continue to be made.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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