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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Optimized Radiator Geometries for Hot Lunar Thermal Environments

The optimum radiator configuration in hot lunar thermal environments is one in which the radiator is parallel to the ground and has no view to the hot lunar surface. However, typical spacecraft configurations have limited real estate available for top-mounted radiators, resulting...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Future robotic exploration of near- Earth asteroids and the vertical and inverted rock walls of lava caves and cliff faces on Mars and other planetary bodies would require a method of gripping...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lexan Linear Shaped Charge Holder With Magnets and Backing Plate

A method was developed for cutting a fabric structural member in an inflatable module, without damaging the internal structure of the module, using linear shaped charge. Lexan and magnets are used in a charge holder to precisely position the linear shaped charge over the desired...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Waterless Clothes-Cleaning Machine

A waterless clothes-cleaning machine has been developed that removes loose particulates and deodorizes dirty laundry with regenerative chemical processes to make the clothes more comfortable to wear and have a fresher smell. This system was initially developed for use in zero-g, but could be altered for 1-g...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
An Active Heater Control Concept to Meet IXO Type Mirror Module Thermal-Structural Distortion Requirement

Flight mirror assemblies (FMAs) of large telescopes, such as the International X-ray Observatory (IXO), have very stringent thermal-structural distortion requirements. The spatial temperature gradient requirement within a FMA could be as...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Wind, Wave, and Tidal Energy Without Power Conditioning

Most present wind, wave, and tidal energy systems require expensive power conditioning systems that reduce overall efficiency. This new design eliminates power conditioning all, or nearly all, of the time.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Integrated Electrical Wire Insulation Repair System

An integrated system tool will allow a technician to easily and quickly repair damaged high-performance electrical wire insulation in the field. Low-melt polyimides have been developed that can be processed into thin films that work well in the repair of damaged polyimide or fluoropolymer...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Next-generation heat-pipe radiator technologies are being developed at the NASA Glenn Research Center to provide advancements in heat-rejection systems for space power and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A fluid pump has been developed for mechanically pumped fluid loops for spacecraft thermal control. Lynntech’s technology utilizes a proprietary electrochemically driven pumping mechanism. Conventional...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A new gripper mechanism can be used as an end effector for a long arm that reaches out from a nearby spacecraft for a touch-and-go type of mission. The gripper would stabilize...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

It would be desirable to acquire rock and/or ice samples that extend below the surface of the parent rock or ice in extraterrestrial environments such as the Moon, Mars, comets, and asteroids. Such samples...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-Compact Transputer-Based Controller for High-Level, Multi-Axis Coordination

The design of machines that rely on arrays of servomotors such as robotic arms, orbital platforms, and combinations of both, imposes a heavy computational burden to coordinate their actions to perform coherent tasks. For example, the robotic equivalent of a person...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetically Actuated Seal

This invention is a magnetically actuated seal in which either a single electromagnet, or multiple electromagnets, are used to control the seal’s position. This system can either be an open/close type of system or an actively controlled system.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot Excavator

The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) excavator robot is a teleoperated mobility platform with a space regolith excavation capability. This more compact, lightweight design (

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Electrostatic/ Flextensional Mir ror for Lightweight, Large-Aperture, and Cr yogenic Space Telescopes

A lightweight, cryogenically capable, scalable, deformable mirror has been developed for space telescopes. This innovation makes use of polymer-based membrane mirror technology to enable large-aperture mirrors that can be easily launched...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sheet Membrane Spacesuit Water Membrane Evaporator

A document describes a sheet membrane spacesuit water membrane evaporator (SWME), which allows for the use of one common water tank that can supply cooling water to the astronaut and to the evaporator. Test data showed that heat rejection performance dropped only 6 percent after being subjected...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Motor Qualification for Long-Duration Mars Missions

Qualification of motors for deep space under extreme thermal environments to be encountered during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is required to verify the reliability and validate mission assurance requirements. The motor assembly must survive all ground operations, plus the nominal...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
JWST Lifting System

A document describes designing, building, testing, and certifying a customized crane (Lifting Device — LD) with a strong back (cradle) to facilitate the installation of long wall panels and short door panels for the GHe phase of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Next-Generation Tumbleweed Rover

A document describes a next-generation tumbleweed rover that involves a split balloon system that is made up of two half-spherical air bladders with a disc between them. This disc contains all the electronics and instruments. By deflating only the bottom balloon, the rover can sit, bringing the surface probe into...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Robots have been a valuable tool for providing a remote presence in areas that are either inaccessible or too dangerous for humans. Having a robot with a high degree of adaptability...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

There is no convenient way to demonstrate mechanically, as an outreach (or inreach) topic, the angular momentum trade-offs and the conservation of angular momentum associated with...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Concept for Hydrogen-Impregnated Nanofiber/Photovoltaic Cargo Stowage System

A stowage system was conceived that consists of collapsible, reconfigurable stowage bags, rigid polyethylene or metal inserts, stainless-steel hooks, flexible photovoltaic materials, and webbing curtains that provide power generation, thermal stabilization, impact...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The moball is envisioned to be a round, self-powered, and wind-driven multifunctioning sensor used in the Gone with the Wind ON-Mars (GOWON) [http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A high-strength, low-weight pressure vessel dome was designed specifically to house a high-pressure [2,000 psi (≈13.8 MPa)] electrolyzer. In operation, the dome is filled with an inert gas...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Actuators are critical to all the robotic and manipulation mechanisms that are used in current and future NASA missions, and are also needed for many other industrial, aeronautical, and space...

Briefs: Motion Control
Ultra-Compact Motor Controller

This invention is an electronically commutated brushless motor controller that incorporates Hall-array sensing in a small, 42-gram package that provides 4096 absolute counts per motor revolution position sensing. The unit is the size of a miniature hockey puck, and is a 44-pin male connector that provides many I/O...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cascading Tesla Oscillating Flow Diode for Stirling Engine Gas Bearings

Replacing the mechanical check-valve in a Stirling engine with a micromachined, non-moving-part flow diode eliminates moving parts and reduces the risk of microparticle clogging.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Superfluid Pulse Tube Refrigerator Without Moving Parts for Sub-Kelvin Cooling

A report describes a pulse tube refrigerator that uses a mixture of 3He and superfluid 4He to cool to temperatures below 300 mK, while rejecting heat at temperatures up to 1.7 K. The refrigerator is driven by a novel thermodynamically...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sapphire Viewports for a Venus Probe

A document discusses the creation of a viewport suitable for use on the surface of Venus. These viewports are rated for 500 °C and 100 atm pressure with appropriate safety factors and reliability required for incorporation into a Venus Lander. Sapphire windows should easily withstand the chemical, pressure,...

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