Mechanical Components

Thermodynamic Vent System for an On-Orbit Cryogenic Reaction Control Engine

A report discusses a cryogenic reaction control system (RCS) that integrates a Joule-Thompson (JT) device (expansion valve) and thermodynamic vent system (TVS) with a cryogenic distribution system to allow fine control of the propellant quality (subcooled liquid) during operation of the device. It enables zero-venting when coupled with an RCS engine. The proper attachment locations and sizing of the orifice are required with the propellant distribution line to facilitate line conditioning. During operations, system instrumentation was strategically installed along the distribution/TVS line assembly, and temperature control bands were identified.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Static Gas-Charging Plug

A gas-charging plug can be easily analyzed for random vibration. The design features two steeped O-rings in a radial configuration at two different diameters, with a 0.050-in. (≈1.3-mm) diameter through-hole between the two O-rings. In the charging state, the top O-ring is engaged and sealing. The bottom O-ring outer diameter is not squeezed, and allows air to flow by it into the tank. The inner diameter is stretched to plug the gland diameter, and is restrained by the O-ring groove.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Low-Cost, Rugged High-Vacuum System

A need exists for miniaturized, rugged, low-cost high-vacuum systems. Recent advances in sensor technology have led to the development of very small mass spectrometer detectors as well as other analytical instruments such as scanning electron microscopes. However, the vacuum systems to support these sensors remain large, heavy, and power-hungry. To meet this need, a miniaturized vacuum system was developed based on a very small, rugged, and inexpensive-to-manufacture molecular drag pump (MDP). The MDP is enabled by a miniature, very-high-speed (200,000 rpm), rugged, low-power, brushless DC motor optimized for wide temperature operation and long life.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Stemless Ball Valve

Potential applications include hazardous fluids and chemicals, and where fugitive emissions from valves are a concern. This invention utilizes a new method of opening and closing a ball valve. Instead of rotating the ball with a perpendicular stem (as is the case with standard ball valves), the ball is rotated around a fixed axis by two guide pins. This innovation eliminates the leak point that is present in all standard ball valves due to the penetration of an actuation stem through the valve body.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Floating Oil-Spill Containment Device

This triangular device can be used for oil and natural gas containment. Previous oil containment booms have an open top that allows natural gas to escape, and have significant oil leakage due to wave action. Also, a subsea pyramid oil trap exists, but cannot move relative to moving oil plumes from deepsea oil leaks.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Instrument Package Manipulation Through the Generation and Use of an Attenuated-Fluent Gas Fold

This document discusses a technique that provides a means for suspending large, awkward loads, instrument packages, components, and machinery in a stable, controlled, and precise manner. In the baseplate of the test machine, a pattern of grooves and ports is installed that when pressurized generates an attenuated-fluent gas f old providing a low-cost, near-zero-coefficient-of-friction lubrication boundary layer that supports the object evenly, and in a predictable manner. Package movement control requires minimal force.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Transpiration-Cooled Spacecraft-Insulation-Repair Fasteners

Transpiration-cooled fasteners are proposed that operate like an open-loop heat pipe (self-tapping screws, bolts, and spikes) for use in on-orbit repair of thermal-insulation of a space shuttle or other spacecraft. By limiting the temperature rise of such a fastener and of the adjacent repair material and thermal protection system, the transpiration cooling would contribute to the ability of the repair to retain its strength and integrity in the high-heat-flux, oxidizing environment of re-entry into the atmosphere of the Earth.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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