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.

Briefs: Propulsion
Multi-Thruster Propulsion Apparatus

Two different types of electrostatic thrusters are used to propel spacecraft: ion thrusters and Hall-effect thrusters. Ion thrusters have the benefit of relatively high exhaust velocities with higher overall thrust efficiencies. Hall-effect thrusters typically offer higher thrust-to-power ratios, but they...

Briefs: Propulsion
Propellant Distributor for a Thruster

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed several new technological innovations to improve the capability of Hall-effect thrusters, which are used primarily on Earth-orbiting satellites and can also be used for deep-space robotic vehicles. Hall thrusters are susceptible to discharge channel...

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto to "non-planet" status. Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon led a group of six researchers to draft a new definition of...

Briefs: Aerospace
High Speed Idle Engine Control Mode

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed an engine control mode that improves an engine's responsiveness to throttle commands during emergency landing conditions. The high speed idle (HSI) control mode increases the speed of the engine's fan and core shafts, allowing faster response and...

Articles: Motion Control
Servo Couplings for High-Tech Systems

Couplings are a critical part of system performance in high-tech applications, yet they are often one of the last components to be specified. Selecting the proper coupling ensures the equipment will meet...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Metallic Glass Shatters Gear Limitations

Gears play an essential role in precision robotics, and they can become a limiting factor when the robots must perform in space missions. In particular, the extreme temperatures of deep space pose...

NASA Spinoff: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rocket Technology Stops Shaking in Its Tracks
NASA Technology

Rocket launches—or earthquakes—are already punishing experiences. But it turns out there are some things that can make them worse: like if the vibrations hit the structure...

Inspecting the condition of dikes and other sea defense structures is typically a task for robots, working in a team and in a highly autonomous way. But if they move around across the dikes,...

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a rocket motor concept that could be used to power CubeSat low-cost satellites. The Los Alamos team recently tested a...

Briefs: Propulsion
Film Cooled Surface

Turbine film cooling flows typically are subject to jet detachment and reduced cooling effectiveness for high blowing rates. Current concepts to improve jet attachment involve impractical or overly complex hole designs...

Large elements for NASA's Space Launch System are in production, and will be joined together to create the rocket's 212-foot-tall core stage, the backbone of the SLS rocket. The...

Articles: Propulsion
NASA’s Pursuit of Power
Advances in Capacitor Materials

Electrochemical capacitors, or supercapacitors, have gained intense interest as an alternative to traditional energy storage devices. Applications for supercapacitors range from...

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a lattice structure capable of absorbing a wide range of vibrations while also being useful as a load-bearing component in propellers, rotors, and...

Researchers have devised a novel way to help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits. The new technology is being tested by...

An advanced Lean-Direct-Injection (LDI) turbine engine combustor was developed. Named LDI-II, which stands for second-generation LDI, this technology has vastly improved and expanded the...

As powered flight expands to include electric propulsion technologies, aeronautics designers need to understand the electrical, aerodynamic, and structural...

The Hall effect thruster (HET) was designed for long-duration operation with gaseous iodine as the propellant. Iodine is an alternative to the state-of-the-art propellant xenon. Compared to xenon,...

Briefs: Propulsion
Burnable-Poison-Operated Reactor Using Gadolinium Loaded Alloy

The problem to be resolved in this work was the use of radial control drums as the sole active reactivity control system for nuclear thermal propulsion, which results in significant rocket performance changes during full-power operation. This can result in large inefficiencies in...

NASA tested a 3D printed rocket engine turbopump with liquid methane – an ideal propellant for engines needed to power many types of spacecraft for NASA’s journey to Mars. During the full-power...

A low-energy nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium in cargo containers arriving at U.S. ports was...

Testing has started at NASA on a concept called the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System (HERTS), a propellant-less propulsion system that would harness solar wind to travel...

There are difficulties related to storing enough gas to propel a CubeSat within an onboard tank. Currently, a CubeSat requiring a large volume of gas for extended...

This technology is based on a model-scale experiment simulating a test facility where an engine exhaust is discharged into a duct....

Briefs: Propulsion
Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes Integration for Shock Noise (RISN)

Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) Integration for Shock- Noise (RISN) is a computer program that evaluates acoustic analogies to predict jet noise. Jet noise is due to turbulence from the chaotic flow within the exhaust of a rocket or air-breathing jet engine. The source of...

Briefs: Aerospace
Regeneratively Cooled Porous Media Jacket

A non-toxic nitrous oxide fuel blend (NOFB) monopropellant with a high adiabatic flame temperature reaching and probably exceeding 3,450 K and a very high thermal decomposition limit (>390 °C) is under development. To design an optimal rocket engine that can handle the high adiabatic temperature...

Briefs: Aerospace
Multi-Pulse Motor (MPM) Designed for Use with Electric Solid Propellants

The multi-pulse motor is a solid-propellant rocket motor that is able to produce a number of pulses for various thrust levels (5 to 30 pulses and thrusts between 0.25 and 1.5 N, depending on electric power delivery system) and can be turned on and off through the...

Briefs: Propulsion
Adaptive Augmenting Control

Adaptive augmenting control (AAC) is a forward gain, multiplicative adaptive algorithm for launch vehicle flight control that meets three summary-level design objectives: Do no harm — return to baseline control design when not needed; respond to errors in the ability of the vehicle to track commands to increase...

NASA is researching ideas that could lead to developing an electric propulsion-powered aircraft that would be quieter, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly than today's...

Just as hybrid or turboelectric power has improved fuel efficiency in cars, boats and trains, aeronautical engineers are exploring how planes can be redesigned and configured...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Aerospace

Understanding O-ring Complexity in the Aerospace Industry

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

The Path to High-Level Autonomy for Commercial Vehicles

Upcoming Webinars: Medical

COVID-19: The New Design Paradigm and Emerging Technologies

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Why Multiple Sensing Modalities Are Required to Achieve Level 3...

Upcoming Webinars: Aerospace

Aviation Electrification: Choosing Your Motor Topology and...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Collaborative Robotics: Sharing the Workspace

Trending Stories

Products: Sensors/Data Acquisition

New Products: March 2019 Sensor Technology

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Carbon Nanostructure is Stronger Than Diamonds

Articles: Motion Control

The Basics of Encoder Selection

Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition

AI-Based Machine Vision & the Future of Automotive In-Cabin Technologies

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Do You See Yourself Someday Printing in 4D?

Videos