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: 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...

R&D: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Researchers Use Rust to Improve 3D-Printing Process

A team of Northwestern researchers has created a new way to print three-dimensional metallic objects using rust and metal powders.

The European Space Agency’s LISA Pathfinder spacecraft is on its way to space with the Disturbance Reduction System (DRS), a thruster technology developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory....

The propulsion subsystem for NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) has been integrated onto the spacecraft, moving the mission another major step toward scheduled launch in...

To stay in the proper orbit, many satellites have thrusters – small rocket engines – that fire to change altitude or orientation in space. On Earth, where gravity dominates, five pounds of...

Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor — and it’s one that might be realized...

Researchers at the University of Georgia are helping NASA determine if a key rocket component can withstand the rigors of the next generation of spaceflight. The bellows...

Products: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Servo Drive

Elmo Motion Control (Nashua, NH) offers the NANO Gold Twitter servo drive that delivers up to 4000 Watts of qualitative power, current up to 50A at 100VDC, and up to 15A/200V with advanced servo capabilities and support for...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Pyramid Micro-Electrofluidic-Spray Propulsion Thruster with Integrated Attitude and Thrust Vector Control

A micro-electrofluidic-spray propulsion (MEP) system was built on a micro scale, in which arrays of hundreds of nano-thrusters are etched on silicon wafers like ICs, only a centimeter on a side. Many dozens of these thruster chips can be...

Briefs: Motion Control
Evaluation of Rail Gun Technology for Launch Assist of Air-Breathing Rockets

A prototype horizontal electromagnetic rail launcher has been demonstrated along with a corresponding theory. This system builds out of published work in augmented rail guns, but modifies this technology so that the motor can operate for seconds rather than...

Briefs: Motion Control
Using Harmonics to Control Flutter in Wings with Electrical Motors

As aeronautics engineers develop innovative distributed electric propulsion systems, they face new challenges in ensuring that these innovative aircraft are safe as well as fuel efficient. In particular, these systems involve a large number of electrically driven fan motors...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Micropulse Detonation Rocket Engine for Nano-Satellite Propulsion

An efficient propulsion system would use a micropulse detonation rocket engine (–PDRE) for nano-satellite maneuverability in space. Technical objectives are to design, build, and conduct a small detonation tube experiment in order to explore the feasibility of using –PDRE for...

Briefs: Motion Control
Experimental Testbed for 1-MW Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion Aircraft

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are developing a concept aircraft for testing turbo-electric distributed propulsion (TeDP) experiments. TeDP generally involves providing thrust to an aircraft via wing-mounted ducted electric fans, which consist...

Complex pressure systems are utilized during testing in the propulsion branch as well as during the propellant loading stage of a mission. Keeping track of the state of such a system becomes more...

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, in association with Boeing, have successfully tested the first aircraft to be powered by a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system, where an...

Researchers have developed a new two-stroke engine notable for its low consumption and low level of pollutant emissions. The engine is the result of Powerful, a European project...

A new method for improving the thrust generated by laser-propulsion systems may bring them one step closer to practical use. The method, developed by physicists Yuri...

News: Propulsion
Underwater Robot Skims for Port Security

MIT researchers unveiled an oval-shaped submersible robot, a little smaller than a football, with a flattened panel on one side that it can slide along an underwater surface to perform ultrasound scans.

Originally designed to look for cracks in nuclear reactors’ water tanks, the robot could also...

Engineers are preparing to test parts of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket that will send humans to space. They installed an RS-25 engine on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space...

What will it take to land heavier spacecraft on Mars? How will engineers slow large payloads traveling at supersonic speeds in a thin Martian atmosphere? The Low Density...

News: Electronics & Computers
New Algorithms Enable Self-Assembling, Printable Robots

In two new papers, MIT researchers demonstrate the promise of printable robotic components that, when heated, automatically fold into prescribed three-dimensional configurations.

One paper describes a system that takes a digital specification of a 3-D shape — such as a computer-aided...

Researchers at University West in Sweden are using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating surface layer that protects aircraft engines from heat. In tests, this increased the...

Worldwide an estimated 185 million people use a wheelchair daily. A company based in Auckland, New Zealand, has developed an innovative robotic technology that helps people with mobility...

The Sunjammer Mission team — including NASA, lead contractor L’Garde, Space Services Holdings (SSHI), and Micro Aerospace Solutions — is preparing to launch Sunjammer, the...

Application Briefs: Propulsion
Cryogenic Turbines Aid NASA’s Morpheus Lander

Turbines, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of turbine flow metering technology, has assisted NASA with its Morpheus Lander project. Project Morpheus, a vertical testbed, demonstrates new...

Videos