Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Compact, Recuperated, Binary-Fluid Rankine-Cycle Engine

The primary advantages of this engine are compactness and relatively high energy-conversion efficiency. A Rankine-cycle engine that contains a binary working fluid (ammonia + water) and a recuperative heat exchanger has been built and tested. This engine is a prototype of "bottoming"-cycle engines that would be used to extract additional useful power from the exhaust heat of gas turbine engines. Its advantages are well suited to vehicles, where volume and weight are important constraints.

Posted in: Machinery & Automation, Briefs

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Variable Frequency Drives For More Efficient Manufacturing Operations

VFDs provide adjustable motor speed that reduces energy consumption of fans. Energy savings is one of the key ingredients in reducing costs for any manufacturing operation. A simple, but very effective, way to save energy is by making fans run more efficiently. Almost every manufacturing application uses fans, and variable frequency drives (VFDs) provide the adjustable motor speed that can actually reduce energy consumption in fans. This concept is demonstrated in the following example where VFDs are used in tandem with industrial robots for paint spray booth applications.

Posted in: Briefs

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Stable, Soft-Opening/Soft-Closing Pressure-Relief Valves

The risk of ignition in systems containing oxygen is reduced. Improved pressure-relief valves have been developed for systems that contain gases and liquids in a variety of pneumatic, hydraulic, and cryogenic applications. These valves could prove especially beneficial in both cryogenic and noncryogenic systems that contain oxygen. The improved valves are designed to suppress instabilities that shorten operational lifetimes and create hazards in the operation of older pressure-relief valves.

Posted in: Briefs

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Rotating Reverse-Osmosis for Water Purification

Rotating Reverse-Osmosis for Water Purification This device would resist fouling. A new design for a water-filtering device combines rotating filtration with reverse osmosis to create a rotating reverse- osmosis system. Rotating filtration has been used for separating plasma from whole blood, while reverse osmosis has been used in purification of water and in some chemical processes. Reverse-osmosis membranes are vulnerable to concentration polarization — a type of fouling in which the chemicals meant not to pass through the reverse-osmosis membranes accumulate very near the surfaces of the membranes. The combination of rotating filtration and reverse osmosis is intended to prevent concentration polarization and thereby increase the desired flux of filtered water while decreasing the likelihood of passage of undesired chemical species through the filter. Devices based on this concept could be useful in a variety of commercial applications, including purification and desalination of drinking water, purification of pharmaceutical process water, treatment of household and industrial wastewater, and treatment of industrial process water.

Posted in: Briefs

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Inlet Housing for a Partial-Admission Turbine

Inlet Housing for a Partial-Admission Turbine The housing is shaped to smooth the inlet flow. An inlet housing for a partial-admission turbine has been designed to cause the inlet airflow to make a smooth transition from an open circular inlet to an inlet slot. The smooth flow is required for purposes of measuring inlet flow characteristics and maximizing the efficiency of the turbine.

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SiC-Based Miniature High-Temperature Cantilever Anemometer

SiC-Based Miniature High-Temperature Cantilever Anemometer This compact, minimally intrusive sensor functions at temperature as high as 600 °C The figure depicts a miniature cantilever- type anemometer that has been developed as a prototype of compact, relatively nonintrusive anemometers that can function at temperatures up to 600 °C and that can be expected to be commercially mass-producible at low cost. The design of this anemometer, and especially the packaging aspect of the design, is intended to enable measurement of turbulence in the high-temperature, high-vibration environment of a turbine engine or in any similar environment.

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Lightweight Deployable Mirrors With Tensegrity Supports

Extremely lightweight, deployable structures could be made by assembling tensegrity modules. The upper part of Figure 1 shows a small-scale prototype of a developmental class of lightweight, deployable structures that would support panels in precise alignments. In this case, the panel is hexagonal and supports disks that represent segments of a primary mirror of a large telescope. The lower part of Figure 1 shows a complete conceptual structure containing multiple hexagonal panels that hold mirror segments.

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