Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on mechanical and fluid systems, from engineering experts at NASA and government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Traditional methods, such as reverse osmosis, that remove contaminants from water are expensive and energy-intensive. Researchers have developed technology to remove contaminants from water,...

Briefs: Software
Sublimable Propellant Source for Iodine-Fed Ion Propulsion System

NASA Marshall has developed a system for generating iodine vapor from solid iodine for use as a propellant in a Hall or ion thruster propulsion system. Xenon has generally been the preferred propellant for these spacecraft ion propulsion systems but more recently, iodine-based...

Briefs: Materials
Composite Advances Lignin as Renewable 3D Printing Material

Lignin is the material left over from the processing of biomass. It gives plants rigidity and also makes biomass resistant to being broken down into useful products. Researchers combined a melt-stable hardwood lignin with conventional plastic, a low-melting nylon, and carbon fiber to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A customizable nanomaterial was developed that combines metallic strength with a foam-like ability to compress and spring back. The material can store and release mechanical energy on the nanoscale, and...

Briefs: Internet of Things
Computer-Controlled Exercise Equipment

While a wide variety of computer-controlled exercise machines for training and rehabilitation exist — some of which can be automatically adjusted to vary resistance or incline — such systems provide for preprogrammed changes in load or resistance. What is needed is a system that overcomes the...

Briefs: Medical

Researchers have, for the first time, integrated two technologies widely used in applications such as optical communications, bio-imaging, and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) systems. In the...

Briefs: AR/AI

Inspired by the human eye, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed an adaptive metalens that is essentially a flat,...

Briefs: Medical

It's hard to get an X-ray image of low-density material like tissue between bones because X-rays just pass right through like sunlight through a window. Sandia studies myriads of low-density materials,...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Optimal Computational Vision Pipeline (OCVP)

Optimal Computational Vision Pipeline (OCVP) software uses a novel algorithm that allows overlapping point clouds obtained from sensors with displaced position and orientation to be fused together in a common coordinate system with a rigorously linear solution for position and orientation parameters;...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Existing optics mounts sandwich the optic axially between two metal components, which can lead to optical surface damage and misalignment when exposed to fluctuating temperatures. Thermal-compensating...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Liquid droplets are used in many applications, from printing ink on paper to creating microcapsules for drug delivery. Inkjet printing is the most common technique used...

Briefs: Materials

RTM370 imide resin was developed to address the limitations of conventional imide resins, which are generated from commercially available symmetrical biphenyl...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take more than a month per engine. Many components are located deep...

Briefs: Aerospace

A novel foot-pedal-operated system and device were developed to control translational and rotational movement of an object in three-dimensional (3D) space. The Foot Pedal Controller system enables operators to control...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Hundreds of small robots can work in a team to create biology-inspired shapes without an underlying master plan, purely based on local communication and movement. To achieve this, the biological...

Briefs: Materials

Existing nanosensor technologies depend on an external power source (typically a battery) to operate. Chemical and biological sensors based on nanowire or nanotube technologies exhibit...

Briefs: Energy
Plasma Generator Using Spiral Conductors

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a patented SansEC sensor technology for use in many different areas, including tall structures and wind turbines. The SansEC technology is a proven wireless sensing platform capable of measuring the electrical impedance of physical matter in proximity to the...

Briefs: Propulsion

Lateral nozzle forces are known to cause severe structural damage during testing of any new rocket engine configuration under development. While three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD)...

Briefs: Motion Control

Researchers have created a two-dimensional, shape-changing sheet that moves autonomously in a reactant-filled fluid. The integrated system utilizes a chemical reaction to activate the fluid...

Briefs: Medical

Researchers have developed a new ultrasound transducer that could dramatically lower the cost of ultrasound scanners to as little as $100. Conventional ultrasound scanners use piezoelectric crystals...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have designed a superior seal assembly that is durable and highly dependable in extremely harsh environments. This...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) Aircraft with Vectored Thrust for Control and Continuously Variable Pitch Attitude in Hover

Most fixed-wing VTOL unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) take off vertically, then transition to horizontal flight. This is a new type of UAV that has unique capability. It can vary its hover position from “nose up”...

Briefs: Medical

A low-cost 3D bioprinter was built by modifying a standard desktop 3D printer with a syringe-based, large volume extruder (LVE). The extruder works with most open-source fused deposition modeling (FDM)...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

For many highly stressed engineering applications like bearings and gears, contaminated steel parts can lead to devastating outcomes such as an emergency shutdown or the end of a mission. Ensuring that these critical...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Infrared motion detectors can cover only a limited amount of space, a person has to be within the detector's line of sight to be detected, and lights can go off when a person remains...

Briefs: Materials

NASA's Glenn Research Center developed a novel means of articulating the outboard portion of an aircraft wing to create the optimal geometry for given flight conditions. The Spanwise Adaptive Wing (SAW) concept employs...

Briefs: Medical

Soft, 3D-printed structures have been created whose movements can be controlled with a wave of a magnet, much like marionettes without the strings. The structures that can be magnetically manipulated...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Check valves are traditionally designed as a simple poppet/spring system where the spring is designed to equal the force created from the sealing area of the valve seat multiplied by...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Lamina emergent compliant mechanisms (including origami-adapted compliant mechanisms) are mechanical devices that can be fabricated from a planar material (a lamina) and have motion...

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