Mechanical/​Mechatronics

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

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Evaluating Effects of Exhaust Heat Recovery Systems on Fuel Economy and Emissions

The exhaust heat recovery system (EHRS) in an automobile captures the thermal energy from exhaust and transfers it to the engine coolant. As the car warms up,...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Air Traffic Management (ATM) System

As the demand for air transportation increases, the capacity of the current U.S. ATM system will eventually be stressed to its limits. New technologies in communication, navigation, and surveillance (CNS),...

Briefs : Materials
Nano/Micro Mechanical Environmental Test Cell

A device and method have been developed to conduct compression and tensile tests on soft materials such as flocculated sediments, biopolymers, biological materials, and food stuffs. The device...

Briefs : Energy
Microtesting Rig

The measurement of mechanical behavior in very small samples whose dimensions are on the order of microns and below can offer advantages over conventional macroscopic testing in many instances. Motivations for investigating...

Briefs : Materials
High-Kinetic-Energy Penetrator Shielding and High-Wear-Resistance Materials Fabricated with Boron Nitride Nanotubes and BNNT Polymer Composites

In recent years, anti-penetration materials have been more widely used for armor, bulletproof vests, and micrometeoroid and orbital debris protection layers for space-suits, space vehicles, and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
3D-Printed Active Materials for Robots

The Army uses robots that are structurally rigid, making them impractical when performing military operations in highly congested and contested urban environments where covert maneuvering is critical...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Carbon Dioxide Collection and Pressurization Technology

Mars is the ultimate destination for NASA's human exploration program. In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is a key technology required to enable such missions. The goals of using resources available at the exploration site are to reduce launch and delivered mass, reduce risk and cost,...

Briefs : Energy
Piezoelectric Thrust Vector Control for Hall Effect Thruster

The design of the CubeSat required precision pointing of the thrust vector through the spacecraft center of gravity to minimize fuel usage for attitude correction. Because the center of gravity shifts over the course of the mission, a means of adjusting the thrust vector was needed....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Researchers Create Precision Optical Components with Inkjet Printing

Researchers have developed an inkjet printing technique that can be used to print optical components such as waveguides. Because the printing approach can also fabricate...

Briefs : Transportation
Active Measurement Cancellation

A battery pack is only as strong as its weakest cell. As battery packs become larger and more integral to the stable operation of devices and systems, the need to monitor battery dependability and performance...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Direct-Current Detector for Emergency Responder Safety

The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a direct-current detector technology to help emergency responders safely detect high voltages, which they have...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Realization of High-Performance Magnetic Sensors Using Magnetic Vortex Structures

Magnetic sensors play a key role in a variety of applications, such as speed and position sensing in the automotive industry and in biomedical applications....

Briefs : Software
Integrated Multiphysics and Advanced Diagnostics

The objective of this effort was to design, fabricate, integrate, and fly a nuclear thermal rocket without having to build massive ground test facilities. Furthermore, this nuclear rocket...

Briefs : Materials
Non-Toxic HAN Monopropellant Propulsion

A highly miniaturized, MR-143, green monopropellant thruster was developed for 1N thrust. Testing indicated the initial catalyst bed heater was insufficient. In subsequent development, the thruster was equipped with a more efficient catalyst bed heater. For reliable ignition of the advanced, non-toxic,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fast, Low-Voltage Actuator for Soft and Wearable Robotics

The unique capabilities of soft robots are to bend, deform, stretch, twist, or squeeze in all the ways that conventional rigid robots cannot. Today, it is easy to envision a world in...

Briefs : Motion Control
Ultra-Thin Capacitive Sensor Has the Least Possible Resistance to Motion

A thin and flexible sensor was developed for sensing sounds, since it can move with the airflow made by even the softest noises. With the least possible resistance to motion, the sensor addresses issues with accelerometers, microphones, and many other similar sensors. The...

Briefs : Materials
Variable-Camber Compliant Wing

In the early years of manned flight, wing warping was used for lateral control of an aircraft. This technique consisted of a system of pulleys and cables used to twist the trailing edges of the wings in...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Using Direct Current with Inverter Technology in Resistance Welding

Resistance welding with direct current (DC) using inverter technology reduces costs by improving quality, reducing maintenance, and increasing productivity. Switching from...

Briefs : Motion Control
Hydraulic-Based Spherical Robot

Current spherical robots rely upon rotating mechanical weights inside the sphere to change the center of gravity of the sphere, causing the robot to roll. The use of rotating mechanical weights is not optimal due to the reliance upon moving parts, which can present burdensome maintenance issues. It would be...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Crystal-Free Formation of Non-Oxide Optical Fiber

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have devised a method for the creation of crystal-free non-oxide optical fiber preforms. Non-oxide fiber optics are extensively used in...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Microcontroller Altimeter (uCA)

Traditional altitude switch designs for harsh environments are mechanical in nature and operate by means of an inflatable bladder or bellows that mechanically depresses a pushbutton switch. The altitude trip point is set by mechanically adjusting the distance of the switch to the bellows. The mechanical action of...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printing of All-Liquid 3D Structures

A method was developed for printing 3D structures composed entirely of liquids. Using a modified 3D printer, threads of water were injected into silicone oil, sculpting tubes made of one liquid within...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rubber-Like Adhesive Film Sticks to Highly Deformable Areas

Adhesives used for common pain-relieving bandages often do not stick properly when attached to places that encounter large, inhomogenous bending motion, like elbows and knees. To...

Briefs : Aerospace
Method 3D-Prints Marine-Grade Stainless Steel

Marine-grade stainless steel is valued for its performance under corrosive environments, and for its high ductility — the ability to bend without breaking under stress. But conventional...

Briefs : Materials
Water-Repellent Nanotextures Possess Anti-Fogging Capability

Some insect bodies have evolved the ability to repel water and oil, adhere to different surfaces, and eliminate light reflections. Scientists have been studying the physical mechanisms underlying these properties found in nature and mimicking them to design materials for use in...

Briefs : Transportation
Electrode Design Boosts Supercapacitor Performance

Supercapacitors are rechargeable energy storage devices that deliver more power for their size than similar-sized batteries. They also recharge quickly, and they last for hundreds to thousands of recharging cycles. Today, they are used in hybrid cars’ regenerative braking systems and for other...

Briefs : Transportation
Polymer Membrane Separators for Next-Generation Energy-Water Systems

Polymer membrane separators play a crucial function in many energy and water technologies including energy storage, hydrogen generation through water electrolysis, and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Flexible Ultrasound Patch for Inspecting Damage in Odd-Shaped Structures

A limitation of today's ultrasound devices is that they are difficult to use on objects that don't have perfectly flat surfaces. Conventional ultrasound probes have...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Blocking/Deblocking Resin Systems

Similar to resin systems currently used in composites for aerospace structural applications such as toughened epoxies, this innovation is a modification to traditional resin chemistry to prevent polymerization and crosslinking of the resin when heated and pressed in an autoclave or other common resin curing...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Simple, Accurate Method for Contact Angle Measurement

The wetting behavior of a liquid on a solid surface is a phenomenon of significant practical importance. The angle of liquid-to-solid contact is important in areas such as adhesion,...