Mechanical/​Mechatronics

Propulsion

Explore the key advances impacting propulsion technologies and applications involved in aircraft propulsion, turbo-electric distributed propulsion, and hybrid electric aircraft propulsion systems.

Question of the Week: Aerospace
Will 'Zero-Impact' Planes Take Off?

Our May issue of Tech Briefs highlighted a hybrid-electric aircraft design from MIT that, according to its creators, could reduce global nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 95 percent.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Oxide Dispersion Strengthened Medium Entropy Alloy
This additively manufactured alloy is tailored for high-temperature applications.
Using microwaves reduces the cost of launching rockets.
The thruster provides a low-cost, extremely efficient propulsion source for miniature satellites.
These engines will allow upper stage rockets for space missions to become lighter, travel farther, and burn more cleanly.
This method increases burn rate of solid propellants.
The proposed design could reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 95 percent.
Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cleaner, Faster Flight is on the Horizon
These 6 advancements are leading us to cleaner, faster aircraft.
Thrusters based on magnetic reconnection could complete long-distance missions in a shorter period of time.
Question of the Week: Propulsion
Will Turboelectric Aircraft Take Off?

A recent video on Tech Briefs TV highlighted NASA’s new idea for aircraft: the STARC-ABL. The concept under development aims to bridge the gap between current jet fuel-powered aircraft and future all-electric vehicles.

Live discussions will explore electric vehicles, propulsion, advanced electronics, and more.
Facility Focus: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Facility Focus: NASA Langley Research Center
See how NASA Langley tests a variety of advanced aircraft concepts. including ways to make flying both cleaner and quieter.

When SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule splashed down off the Florida coast in August following its first crewed mission, the two astronauts inside could not exit the capsule...

Stanford University’s School of Engineering has been at the forefront of innovation for nearly a century
NASA Spinoff: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Water-Powered Engines Offer Satellite Mobility
The technology could allow deep-space exploration without running out of propellant.
The NiobiCon™ underwater connector will not short out, corrode, or cause an electrical shock if touched while powered in harsh environments like saltwater.
Application Briefs: Aerospace
Wave Energy Modeling for Safer Space Travel
What does wave energy have to do with space exploration? Plenty, it turns out.
White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Measuring Torque Ripple and Its Effects on Electric Power and Noise & Vibration

Torque ripple can create challenges in electric motors including control, power output, noise, vibration, and durability. Torque ripple can be described as the...

Facility Focus: Test & Measurement
Facility Focus: NASA John C. Stennis Space Center
Stennis now is testing RS-25 rocket engines for the Space Launch System (SLS) that will carry humans back to the Moon.
Question of the Week: Propulsion
Will Electric Aircraft Take-Off in Everyday Aviation?

In May of 2020, the “eCaravan” aircraft, powered by a 750-horsepower electric motor and more than 2000 pounds of lithium-ion batteries, flew to a height of over 2500 feet, at over 100 miles per hour. The all-electric airplane was built by magniX, Seattle-based electric propulsion...

The Mars rover Perseverance has a helicopter. Will the rover have to carry it around?
Special Reports: Transportation
Vehicle Electrification - July 2020

The global transition to electric vehicles presents new design, manufacturing, and infrastructure challenges. To help you keep pace with the rapid changes in vehicle electrification technology, we present...

The new technology demonstrates a 20 percent savings in fuel in typical passenger car low-load operating conditions.
Briefs: Aerospace
SMART Solar Sail
The miniaturized, autonomous, reconfigurable solar sail is capable of very fine maneuvering by small surface deformation.
This method provides a fast way to assess rocket engine performance in a variety of operating conditions.
Briefs: Motion Control
Bio-Inspired Propulsion
Frequencies and passive dynamics of vehicles moving in air or water help enhance propulsion performance.
Briefs: Aerospace
Supersonic Spike Diffuser
This diffuser provides double the pumping efficiency in one-quarter the space.
To speed up the design process, researchers from the University of Texas are finding more efficient ways to predict, or "learn," a rocket's behavior.

Videos