Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
PVP-MP Method for Wrinkling Analysis of Space Membrane Structures

Parameter-Variation-Principle (PVP) based Mathematical Programming (MP) is the basis of a computational method of analyzing wrinkles in membranes. Devised for original application to lightweight membrane structures in outer space, the method can also be applied on Earth to similar...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vacuum Pumping Station

A proposed valve unit called a "vacuum pumping station" would be incorporated into a plumbing system that supplies a vacuum for vacuum insulated cryogenic equipment. The vacuum pumping station is intended to perform functions now performed by, and to be a simpler and more reliable alternative to, an assembly of components...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gas Generator for Inflating Structures in Outer Space

A report proposes a system that would supply gas for inflating one or more inflatable structure(s) in outer space. The system would include a small tank of helium for initial inflation, plus a catalytic hydrazine gas generator that would supply makeup gas over the long term. After...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Martian Landing Balls

A report describes Martian landing balls, which are under development for use in delivering scientific payloads to Mars. Martian landing balls are related to other soft-landing devices that resemble beach balls and that have been described in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles. They are also related to the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight, Collapsible Hyperbaric Chamber With Airlock

A lightweight, collapsible hyperbaric chamber/airlock system has been proposed as a portable unit for treating decompression sickness. Copies of the system could be stowed compactly and deployed when needed in settings in which decompression sickness is expected to occur occasionally but...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Reconfigurable Exploratory Robotic Vehicles

A family of rugged, modular, reconfigurable, instrumented robotic vehicles has been proposed for use in exploration of the surfaces of Mars and other remote planets. These or similar vehicles could also be useful in such diverse terrestrial applications as exploration of volcanic craters or other...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pressure Sensor Based on Measurement of Vibration Damping

A compact, low-power device measures pressure via the pressure-induced damping of oscillation of a small mechanical resonator. To achieve compactness and low mass — and thus low-power consumption — the resonator is micromachined out of silicon. In addition to the resonator, the device...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micromachined Double Resonator

A double-resonator design has been devised for a cloverleaf-shaped silicon microelectromechanical resonator. The double-resonator design provides for an inner, higher-frequency resonator suspended on an outer, lower-frequency resonator. This design concept affords several advantages, as described below.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanical Breakaway Clutch

A proposed mechanical breakaway clutch would not rely on friction. The clutch would be useful in environments in which the inherent inaccuracies of friction would make friction clutches erratic. The proposed clutch would comprise two primary assemblies: a driver assembly and a slip flange. The slip flange would be...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Molten-Carbonate Oxidation of Solid Waste

The molten-carbonate oxidation (MCO) process shows promise as a means of safe disposal and/or recycling of solid waste. The MCO process is being developed for use in regenerative life-support systems in outer space, but may also prove useful in managing institutional, industrial, and/or municipal solid...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Water-Jet/Ultrasonic Removal and Real-Time Gauging of Paint

An improved robotic water-jet system for stripping paint from a ship or other large metallic structure is undergoing development. In addition to utilizing a high-pressure water jet to remove paint and a robotic crawler to scan the jet along the painted structure, the system utilizes...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dynamic Balancing of Multiple Independent Stirling Engines

Experiments have shown that an assembly of multiple free-piston Stirling engines can be designed and constructed in such a way as to both (1) make the vibrations of the engines balance each other to minimize the overall level of vibration, and (2) enable the engines to operate...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Using Artificial Neural Networks To Monitor Stirling Engines

An important secondary topic addressed in the research and development effort described in the preceding article is the use of artificial neural networks to improve the monitoring and thus the control and safety of multiple free-piston Stirling engines. Information collected by...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tooling for Controlled Grinding of an Edge To Remove Defects

A special-purpose grinding tool and fixtures have been developed for reworking an edge of a seal surface on a nozzle-throat-support housing in a rocket engine (see Figure 1) to remove defects caused by corrosion. Although the design of the tooling is specific to the original...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stable Microwave-Beam-Riding Spacecraft

The work considers passive dynamic stability of sail craft, propelled by microwave beams. Such systems are under consideration as low-cost means of interstellar travel. Sail-craft shapes offering passive dynamic (neutral) stability are identified. Passive stability is a key mission-enabling attribute. Very...

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