Mechanical Components

Brushless Motors for In-Tank Fuel Pumps

The use of a brushless motor provides improvement in power usage and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Most automotive fuel systems use a Fuel Delivery Module (FDM) with components to filter and pump gasoline at a specified pressure and flow rate from the fuel tank to the engine. The FDM uses a reservoir assembly to maintain a fuel supply at the pump inlet and support components such as pressure regulators and/or limiters, filters, level sensor, and the electrical and hydraulic connections that pass through the tank. Current systems predominantly use passive electrical components such as brush pumps and resistive fuel level sensors that are independently connected to a voltage supply and body control module, respectively. The high flow levels of these systems require high-power pumps that may operate continuously at maximum speed conditions. Some newer systems may employ a voltage controller to modulate the pump supply voltage to discrete speeds depending on projected engine demand, and provide some improvement in power consumption.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation, Briefs

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Origami-Inspired Folding of Thick, Rigid Panels

Hinges are used to achieve the necessary folding. To achieve power of 250 kW or greater, a large compression ratio of stowed-to-deployed area is needed. Origami folding patterns were used to inspire the folding of a solar array to achieve synchronous deployment; however, origami models are generally created for near-zero-thickness material. Panel thickness is one of the main challenges of origami-inspired design.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation, Briefs, TSP

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Temperature Considerations When Specifying LVDT Linear Position Sensors

LVDT linear position sensors offer significant mechanical life for industrial process control and factory automation systems. The LVDT linear position sensor can operate successfully over a wide range of temperatures, depending upon its design and the application in which it is operating. While the output of the LVDT linear position sensor is not immune to temperature variation, proper design and construction for environmental effects can produce a sensor that provides a relatively stable, highly linear output over a wide temperature range. Depending upon materials and construction techniques, modern LVDT linear position sensors can be built to withstand temperature extremes from -195 to +600 °C.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation, Briefs

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Electric Machine With Boosted Inductance to Stabilize Current Control

High-powered motors typically have very low resistance and inductance (R and L) in their windings. This makes the pulse-width modulated (PWM) control of the current very difficult, especially when the bus voltage (V) is high. These R and L values are dictated by the motor size, torque (Kt), and back-emf (Kb) constants. These constants are in turn set by the voltage and the actuation torque-speed requirements. This problem is often addressed by placing inductive chokes within the controller. This approach is undesirable in that space is taken and heat is added to the controller.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation, Briefs

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Positive-Buoyancy Rover for Under Ice Mobility

This floating rover operates at the ice/water interface in lakes and seas. A buoyant rover has been developed to traverse the underside of ice-covered lakes and seas. The rover operates at the ice/water interface and permits direct observation and measurement of processes affecting freeze- over and thaw events in lake and marine environments. Operating along the 2- D ice-water interface simplifies many aspects of underwater exploration, especially when compared to submersibles, which have difficulty in station-keeping and precision mobility.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation, Briefs, TSP

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International Space Station- Based Electromagnetic Launcher for Space Science Payloads

A method was developed of lowering the cost of planetary exploration missions by using an electromagnetic propulsion/launcher, rather than a chemical-fueled rocket for propulsion. An electromagnetic launcher (EML) based at the International Space Station (ISS) would be used to launch small science payloads to the Moon and near Earth asteroids (NEAs) for the science and exploration missions. An ISS-based electromagnetic launcher could also inject science payloads into orbits around the Earth and perhaps to Mars.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation, Briefs

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High-Precision Encoders for GEO Space Applications

These encoders are designed for precision pointing in high-duty-cycle applications. High-precision encoders are used by earth observation instruments and in mechanisms for laser communication terminals (LCTs). A micro-radian resolution encoder for the LCT was designed for precision pointing applications, especially in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) environments with a 15-year lifetime, and in high-duty-cycle applications.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation, Briefs

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