Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Precise Direct Control of Pressure or Vacuum Using a Digitally Controlled Actuator

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Aclosed/semi-open pressure or vacuum system uses an electric screw mechanical actuator that can be digitally controlled and monitored, and which receives feedback directly from an external or internal source. This innovation can adjust for media temperature changes, expansion, and contraction in a constant volume and pressure system. This is done by extending or retracting a leak-free, high-pressure, or vacuum-sealed piston that is controlling pressure or vacuum.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Irreversible Entropy Production Rate in High-Pressure Turbulent Reactive Flows

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California To model high-pressure reactive flows, the most promising methodology is large eddy simulation (LES) in which one solves the large scales of the problem and models the small scales. There is currently no guidance as to the relative importance of small scales originating from different phenomena.

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Piezoelectric Actuator for a 2-inch Isolation Cryogenic Valve

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This project is focused on the development of a high-force, high-speed piezoelectric actuator for control of a 2-inch (≈5-cm) isolation valve application in a cryogenic vacuum environment. The piezo motor actuators on the two cryogenic isolation valves were successfully tested at NASA MSFC at 300 to 400 psi (≈2.07 to 2.76 MPa) flow pressure. The testing did not expose the piezo elements to temperatures below 0 °C. Iceramic piezo material has not failed under cryogenic testing to the date of this reporting.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Torque Plug Actuator Design for Sample Return Sample Tubes

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California During the transportation of any sample material, it is important to ensure that no damage or contamination of the sample occurs while in transit. This concept is extremely important within the sample caching rover sample return architecture. Adequately sealing the sample tubes is important because inorganic contamination of sample material will affect any potential science experiment upon return.

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Habitat Water Wall for Water, Solids, and Atmosphere Recycle and Reuse

This technology can be used in wastewater treatment plants. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California A method was developed that allows water recycling, air treatment, thermal control, and solid residuals treatment and recycle to be removed from the usable habitat volume and placed in the walls of a radiation-shielding water wall. This design also provides a mechanism to recover and reuse water treatment (solid) residuals to strengthen the habitat shell.

Posted in: Briefs, Recycling Technologies

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Novel Feedthrough for Instrumentation Lead Wires

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida This invention is a method and design for the conveyance of instrumentation lead wires from one pressure boundary to another pressure boundary in cryogenic process systems. Such a device or article is commonly referred to as a feedthrough. The novelty of the present invention is the extreme low-temperature conditions commensurate with extreme leak-tightness requirements that are managed by a relatively simple and economical approach. The design is directly applicable to any process system or instrumentation device operating below approximately 300°F. The novel feedthrough design is very cost-effective and easy to produce, yet provides solutions to sealing problems under severe conditions or for extremely demanding requirements.

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Pneumatic Conveying of Lunar Regolith Simulant

Closed-loop conveying may be desirable in terrestrial applications where the motive gas is scarce or expensive, such as helium. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida Planetary regolith (dust) is an aggregation of various minerals and different particle sizes. Collection, storage, processing, and disposal of this material are very challenging in the harsh planetary environment. Extraterrestrial operations involving In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) require conveying of regolith. The regolith needs to be transported from the planetary surface to chemical/thermal reaction vessels, and spent (processed) regolith needs to be conveyed to a disposal area.

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