Mechanical/Mechatronics

Propulsion

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...

On-Demand Webinars : Propulsion
Technical Webinar Series from the Editors of SAE: Hybrid & EV Propulsion

Greater use of vehicle electrification is essential for OEMs to meet the far more stringent global CO2 emission standards coming early in the next decade, and the technologies related to batteries, power control, and e-motors are progressing steadily. New vehicle electrical...

News : Imaging
Is Pluto a Planet? Scientists Seek New Definition

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 "planet" — one that includes more than 100 other celestial bodies, including Pluto. The proposal was...

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 performance requirements and have a long, trouble-free life. Poor coupling selection can lead to high...

Articles : Materials
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 numerous problems for successful gear operation. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA,...

INSIDER : Propulsion
Dike Inspection Robot is Energy-Autonomous

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, perform tests, and communicate the results for six hours a day, they use a lot of energy.

News : Motion Control
Rocket Motor Design Could Boost Small Satellite Missions

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 six-motor CubeSat-compatible propulsion array with tremendous success.

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 due to manufacturing or durability constraints. Novel film cooling concepts from NASA’s Glenn Research...

News : Materials
Space Launch System’s Core Stage Built Piece-by-Piece

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 core stage is made up of the engine section, liquid hydrogen tank, intertank, liquid oxygen tank, and forward...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
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 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to backup power sources. While the power density of...

News : Materials
Lattice Structure Absorbs Propeller Vibrations

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 rockets. The three-dimensional lattice structure has a lattice spacing of around 3.5 mm, and was fabricated out...

News : Motion Control
Technique Controls Autonomous Vehicles in Extreme Conditions

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 racing, sliding, and jumping one-fifth-scale, fully autonomous auto-rally cars at the equivalent of 90 mph. The...

Briefs : Propulsion
Generation-2 Lean Direction Injection System

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 performance characteristics of the initial LDI design by not only exceeding NASA’s N+2 emissions goal, but also...

Briefs : Propulsion
Testing Aircraft Electric Propulsion Systems on NASA’s Modular Stand

As powered flight expands to include electric propulsion technologies, aeronautics designers need to understand the electrical, aerodynamic, and structural characteristics of these systems. Therefore, researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a...

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