Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Mechanical Components

Find multimedia resources and technical briefs covering complex mechanical components and technologies. Find the latest applications that design engineers are using to meet their design challenges.

Railguns, which propel a projectile using electromagnetic forces instead of chemical explosions, promise to revolutionize projectile launchers. Such guns have...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rover Wheel-Actuated Tool

A report describes an interface for utilizing some of the mobility features of a mobile robot for general-purpose manipulation of tools and other objects. The robot in question, now undergoing conceptual development for use on the Moon, is the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) rover, which is...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated Aerial Refueling Hitches a Ride On AFF

The recent introduction of uninhabited aerial vehicles [UAVs (basically, remotely piloted or autonomous aircraft)] has spawned new developments in autonomous operation and posed new...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cobra Probes Containing Replaceable Thermocouples

A modification of the basic design of cobra probes provides for relatively easy replacement of broken thermocouples. [Cobra probes are standard tube-type pressure probes that may also contain thermocouples and that are routinely used in wind tunnels and aeronautical hardware. They are so named...

During a vehicle's braking action, a wheel's kinetic energy is transformed into heat, which doesn't dissipate fast enough into the air stream from the brake...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Efficient Optimization of Low-Thrust Spacecraft Trajectories

A paper describes a computationally efficient method of optimizing trajectories of spacecraft driven by propulsion systems that generate low thrusts and, hence, must be operated for long times. A common goal in trajectory-optimization problems is to find minimum-time, minimum-fuel, or...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Algorithm Optimally Allocates Actuation of a Spacecraft

A report presents an algorithm that solves the following problem: Allocate the force and/or torque to be exerted by each thruster and reaction-wheel assembly on a spacecraft for best performance, defined as minimizing the error between (1) the total force and torque commanded by the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Simple, Compact, Safe Impact Tester

An apparatus has been designed and built for testing the effects, on moderatesized objects, of cushioned decelerations having magnitudes ranging up to several hundred g [where g = normal Earth...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pseudo-Waypoint Guidance for Proximity Spacecraft Maneuvers

A paper describes algorithms for guidance and control (G&C) of a spacecraft maneuvering near a planet, moon, asteroid, comet, or other small astronomical body. The algorithms were developed following a model- predictive-control approach along with a convexification of the governing...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Update on Controlling Herds of Cooperative Robots

A document presents further information on the subject matter of “Controlling Herds of Cooperative Robots” (NPO-40723), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 30, No. 4 (April 2006), page 81. To recapitulate: A methodology for controlling a herd of cooperative and autonomous mobile robots exploring the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Simulation and Testing of Maneuvering of a Planetary Rover

A report discusses the development of a computational model of a Mars Explorer Rover maneuvering across terrain under varying conditions. The model is used to increase understanding of the rover dynamics. Increased understanding is helpful in planning further tests and in extending the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Retaining Rings for Industrial Fastening Applications

A discussion of retaining rings inevitably must begin with a debunking of myths; namely, that one style of retaining ring will function better than all other types in all instances. No...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Development of Vapor-Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal System

A report describes recent accomplishments of a continuing effort to develop the vapor-phase catalytic ammonia removal (VPCAR) process for recycling wastewater for consumption by humans aboard a spacecraft in transit to Mars. The VPCAR process is implemented by a system of highly...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Several Developments in Space Tethers

Five reports address different aspects of development of tethers to be deployed from spacecraft in orbit around the Earth. The first report discusses proposed optoelectronic tracking of retroreflective objects located at intervals or of retroreflective coats along the entire length of a tether to measure...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Design Concept for a Nuclear Reactor-Powered Mars Rover

A report presents a design concept for an instrumented robotic vehicle (rover) to be used on a future mission of exploration of the planet Mars. The design incorporates a nuclear fission power system to provide long range, long life, and high power capabilities unachievable through the use...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Formation-Initialization Algorithm for N Spacecraft

A paper presents an algorithm to initialize a formation of N distributed spacecraft in deep space. Such formations will enable variable-baseline interferometers in future NASA missions designed to study the structure and origin of the universe. The algorithm described in the paper reflects some...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Six-Message Electromechanical Display System

A proposed electromechanical display system would be capable of presenting as many as six distinct messages. This system would be a more capable and more complex successor to the proposed...

Sierra Design Engineering, Mount Aukum, California BUB Enterprises, Grass Valley, California; ALGOR, Inc., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

A streamliner motorcycle designed and built...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Friction, High-Stiffness Joint for Uniaxial Load Cell

A universal-joint assembly has been devised for transferring axial tension or compression to a load cell. To maximize measurement accuracy, the assembly is required to minimize any moments and non-axial forces on the load cell and to exhibit little or no hysteresis. The requirement to...

A prototype system for docking a miniature spacecraft with a larger spacecraft has been developed by engineers at the Johnson Space Center. Engineers working on Mini AERCam, a...

A proposed valve for controlling the rate of flow of a fluid would include an electric-motor-driven ball-screw mechanism for adjusting the seating element of the valve to any...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plumbing Fixture for a Microfluidic Cartridge

A fixture has been devised for making the plumbing connections between a microfluidic device in a replaceable cartridge and an external fluidic system. The fixture includes a 0.25-in. (6.35-mm) thick steel plate, to which the cartridge is fastened by two 10-32 thumb screws. The plate holds one...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Camera Mount for a Head-Up Display

A mounting mechanism was designed and built to satisfy requirements specific to a developmental head-up display (HUD) to be used by pilots in a Boeing 757 airplane. This development was necessitated by the fact that although such mounting mechanisms were commercially available for other airplanes, there were...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Estimation Filter for Alignment of the Spitzer Space Telescope

A document presents a summary of an onboard estimation algorithm now being used to calibrate the alignment of the Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility). The algorithm, denoted the S2P calibration filter, recursively generates estimates of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Spiral Orbit Tribometer

The spiral orbit tribometer (SOT) bridges the gap between full-scale life testing and typically unrealistic accelerated life testing of ball-bearing lubricants in conjunction with bearing ball and race materials. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Asymmetric Bulkheads for Cylindrical Pressure Vessels

Asymmetric bulkheads are proposed for the ends of vertically oriented cylindrical pressure vessels. These bulkheads, which would feature both convex and concave contours, would offer...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Code Assesses Risks Posed by Meteoroids and Orbital Debris

BUMPER II version 1.92e is a computer code for assessing the risk of damage from impacts of micrometeoroids and orbital debris on the International Space Station (ISS), including those parts of the ISS covered by shielding that affords partial protection against such impacts. (Other...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Regulating Water-Separator System for Fuel Cells

A proposed system would perform multiple coordinated functions in regulating the pressure of the oxidant gas (usually, pure oxygen) flowing to a fuel-cell stack and in removing excess...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Staggering Inflation To Stabilize Attitude of a Solar Sail

A document presents computational simulation studies of a concept for stabilizing the attitude of a spacecraft during deployment of such structures as a solar sail or other structures supported by inflatable booms. Specifically, the solar sail considered in this paper is a square sail...

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