Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Use of Eccentric Bushings to Precision-Locate Multiple Parts on a Large Mating Structure

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Cups/cones are being used to provide a shear load transfer capability on a large separation interface that uses multiple discreet retention and release (R&R) devices (such as frangible nuts, separation nuts, separation bolts, etc.). To both provide good shear load-sharing among all R&Rs and to prevent relative motion between the mating structures, the cups/cones must be designed with minimal (and sometimes zero) radial clearance. This tight fit requires that the cup and the cone on the mating structures are precisely located to each other.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Fastening, Parts
Read More >>

Effective Packing of Large Panels via Scrolling and Origami Folding

The packing mechanism employs an origami configuration that may have sport and military applications.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

There is a need for large mirrors that can be launched to various bodies in the solar system in a packed form and unfolded to provide the required dimensions. The solution to the need for foldable panels that can be made as mirrors or other structures including antennas, etc. has been conceived using an origami configuration that is folded in two dimensions. The foldable panel configuration, if made as a mirror, allows supporting rover operation in craters and caves that are shadowed and inaccessible to direct sunlight. The benefits of its use include providing light to the solar cells of the rover, providing a heating source using sunlight, and illuminating the area of operation where the rover is located.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Antennas, Solar energy, Spacecraft
Read More >>

Six-Degree-of-Freedom Control With Only Eight Thrusters

Even as few as eight thrusters can provide six-degree-of-freedom control of a spacecraft and do so without undesired coupling between torque and translational force generation functions.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

Typical spacecraft thruster configurations are often unable to provide full six-degree-of-freedom control and may have unwanted interaction between their attitude control and trajectory control functions, have undesirably high instantaneous electrical power demands, and use more thrusters than desirable. These last two potential problems gain increased significance if a spacecraft is required to have especially small size and mass, and have very low cost.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Attitude control, Spacecraft
Read More >>

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

A closed/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, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Sensors and actuators, Pistons
Read More >>

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.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Simulation and modeling
Read More >>

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, Mechanical Components, Sensors and actuators, Ceramics, Parts
Read More >>

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.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Seals and gaskets
Read More >>

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

This technology can be used in wastewater treatment plants.

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, Green Design & Manufacturing, Recycling Technologies, Mechanical Components, Waste management, Water reclamation, Passenger compartments, Thermal management, Spacecraft
Read More >>

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.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Wiring, Seals and gaskets, Test equipment and instrumentation
Read More >>

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.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Particulate matter (PM), Waste disposal, Pneumatic systems, Test equipment and instrumentation
Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.