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.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Powder Handling Device for Analytical Instruments

A new technology provides for automated sample handling and movement of coarse-grained powder or other solid materials to enable analysis by a robotic or totally automated computer system. Currently, many analytical instruments require a powder sample to control the shape and/or volume of the...

News: Materials
Untethered Soft Robot Walks Through Flames

Developers from Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have produced the first untethered soft robot — a quadruped that can stand up and walk away from its designers.

The researchers were able to scale up earlier...

Very few industries are as affected by strict test standards as the automotive sector. Nearly every automobile component (engine parts, accelerators, clutches,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fail-Safe Accumulator for Internal Active Thermal Control Loops

Spacecraft internal active thermal control systems (ATCSs) typically use water or a water mixture as their working fluid. A gas-charged bellows accumulator pressurizes the system and provides liquid inventory control. If only a single internal ATCS loop is used, the accumulator...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rocket Vent Design With Variable Flow Control and Rain Protection

This innovation is a rocket purge vent design that can control and balance flow across multiple vents and across very large gas flow ranges while keeping water or other undesirable gases from entering into the vented space. When changing purge rates, this device adapts to the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Turbo-Brayton Converter for Fission Surface Power Applications

Producing electric power for space applications is challenging. Although short-term missions can use batteries or fuel cells, these sources are not practical for durations longer than one month. Photovoltaics become less attractive as the distance from the Sun increases, and they are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vibration Ring

Machine vibration often originates with rotating driveline components such as rotors, gears, bearings, and fans. Such vibration is the source of unwanted noise and can be destructive to the machine. The vibration ring is a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Locomotion of Amorphous Surface Robots

The proposed techniques rely on three principal concepts: (1) controlling the polarity of electromagnets, (2) circulating fluid through a compartmentalized bladder, and (3) expanding and deflating polymers. These designs would allow amorphous robots to move across a surface without conventional wheels or...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluid Disconnect Cooling Technique

The purpose of this innovation is to simulate the space temperature environment onto a fluid disconnect. This environment is to be maintained for a long period of time (48 hours) at a controlled temperature [6 ±2 °F(≈–14.4 ±1.1 °C)] to determine if temperature is causing leakage through the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Designing Reliable Robots for Moon Exploration

Equipment for space exploration is almost impossible to test on Earth. Testing is expensive and cannot replicate the conditions of launch, cruise, landing, and travel across a planetary surface....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Composite Sports Car Body Design

The use of composites is rapidly growing across many industries, fostering the need for new design, analysis, and optimization technologies. Every industry feels increasing pressure to launch breakthrough...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Development of an Analytical Parameterized Linear Lateral Dynamic Model for an Aerobot Airship

Saturn’s moon Titan is of high interest for in situ study due to its many intriguing features. This moon has a dense atmosphere; rough, icy terrain; and low surface winds that make it the ideal place to send a controlled aerial robotic platform, such...

Briefs: Software
Algorithm Enhancements to Powered Descent Guidance Software

The Powered Descent Guidance (PDG) software provides a computationally efficient guidance algorithm for powered descent that ensures satisfaction of the governing dynamics, along with adherence to physical control and state constraints, such as avoid the surface, limit thrust magnitude...

Aerodynamic control surfaces, with excessive free-play, can cause limit cycle oscillations (LCO), a sustained vibration of constant amplitude. The LCO is caused by a...

Briefs: Software
Design Environment for Multi-Fidelity and Multi-Disciplinary Components

Many of the most challenging aspects of propulsion system development are related to the prediction of interacting effects among fluid loads, thermal loads, and structural deflection. A typical design practice might ignore the interaction between the physical phenomena where...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shipping Foam Designer Software

An easy-to-use design tool was developed in response to a large number of documented cases of critical (flight and ground) hardware failing after experiencing drops during commercial shipment. By entering the mass of the hardware to be protected, and the drop height, the software helps the user select the type and...

Briefs: Software
Evolutionary Mission Trajectory Generator

The Evolutionary Mission Trajectory Generator (EMTG) is a global trajectory optimization tool for designing interplanetary missions that perform multiple flybys and either low-thrust or high-thrust propulsive maneuvers on the way to destinations in the solar system. Some targets, such as Mars and Venus,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Visual International Space Station Configuration Viewing Tool

Communicating the current International Space Station (ISS) configuration and also potential ISS configurations is a necessity during ISS trade studies and Ops Con development. Often, multiple configuration options will need to be communicated. Doing so without a means of displaying...

Predicting turbulent flowfield and pressure drop in complex internal flows, such as valves, pumps, and turbines, is of great interest in many areas of...

News: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Researchers Develop Solar Technologies, Origami-Style

As a high school student at a study program in Japan, Brian Trease would fold wrappers from fast-food cheeseburgers into cranes. He loved discovering different origami techniques in library books.

Today, Trease, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,...

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center’s Flight Loads Laboratory completed structural evaluations on a modified Gulfstream G-III aircraft that will serve as a test bed for the Adaptive...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Swan Seal

This seal features dual sealing capabilities: a face seal and an axial seal. The name swan seal is derived from its cross section, which resembles a swan. Most injector designs require fuel to be delivered from an inlet fitting, through a feed arm, to the injector tip. Temperature variation from the inlet to the tip, from the cool fuel...

The extreme conditions on Venus (460 °C and 92 atm) prevent the use of any of the existing science instruments outside of the lander. To transfer a sample into the lander, a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Field-Reconfigurable Manipulator for Rovers

Robotic technologies will be deeply involved in any future human mission to the Moon. Prior to human arrival, robots will survey and explore the lunar surface, establish infrastructure, and assemble and test habitat modules. Once humans have arrived, the robots must be able to assist human...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight, Flexible, Freezable Heat Pump/Radiator for EVA Suits

For space exploration missions that may require extended stays and extensive extra-vehicular activity (EVA) operations, the temperature control system must be lightweight, rugged, non-venting, and repairable in space.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cryogenic Balloon End Fitting Seal

Typical lighter-than-air vehicles utilizing a superpressure design such as balloons, aerostats, or blimps, have one or more fittings attached to the gas containment skin that can serve as load attachment...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact Regenerative Blower

The regenerative blower provides air flow through structures or systems that have relatively high flow resistance. Specifically, the regenerative blower was designed to provide a flow of ventilation gas through a spacesuit and its portable life support system (PLSS). Since the ventilation gas is primarily oxygen, fire...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shape-Memory-Alloy-Based Launch Lock

Most NASA missions require the use of a launch lock for securing moving components during the launch or securing the payload before release. A launch lock is used to prevent unwanted motion and secure the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rotary Microspine Technology

Mobility for small, man-portable reconnaissance robots in the past has been limited with regard to obstacles like curbs, stairs, and vertical walls. A previous innovation overcame these obstacles by introducing...

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