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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat
Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat

Directly converting electrical power to heat is easy; however, converting heat into electrical power is not as easy. To address this issue, a tiny silicon-based device was developed that can...

Generating Electrical Power from Waste Heat
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Directed Flux Motor

Electromagnetic motors typically convert electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy and are employed across a wide array of applications. While motors represent relatively mature technology, practitioners continue to seek ways to enhance motor operation including a decrease in cost, drop in size/weight,...

Blog : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
Three new unmanned helicopters were unveiled at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL show in Chicago.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
Blog : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
A Navy Sea Glider can look for a target in mid-air or underwater.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
News : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
As always, the Air Force Research Laboratory had a huge presence at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL show in Chicago.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
Facility Focus : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Facility Focus: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Facility Focus: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Founded on July 1, 1960, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL is one of NASA’s largest field centers. Marshall engineers designed, built, tested, and helped launch the Saturn V...

Facility Focus: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
NASA Spinoff : Imaging
LED Lighting Improves Efficiency and Imaging
LED Lighting Improves Efficiency and Imaging

Rocket engine testing requires a lot of light since all tests are filmed with high-speed cameras to monitor performance; however, those cameras have to adjust to the bright plume from a firing...

LED Lighting Improves Efficiency and Imaging
Blog : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
You think riding your Harley Davidson is exciting? Try the ElectraFly.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes
Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes

Mechanical systems such as engines and motors rely on two principal types of motions of stiff components: linear motion, which involves an object moving from one point to another in a straight...

Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes
Briefs : Motion Control
Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials
Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials

Making electric cars lighter also involves reducing the weight of the motor. One way to do that is by constructing it from fiber-reinforced polymer materials. A new cooling concept...

Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Achieving Carbon Footprint Reduction with Flywheel Technology
Achieving Carbon Footprint Reduction with Flywheel Technology

Recent technical advances have enabled flywheel energy storage systems (FESS) to become more compact and able to support higher-power applications. Due to their proven...

Achieving Carbon Footprint Reduction with Flywheel Technology
Articles : Propulsion
Organic Compound Turns Toxic Waste into Harmless Byproducts
Organic Compound Turns Toxic Waste into Harmless Byproducts

Spinoff is NASA’s annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in...

Organic Compound Turns Toxic Waste into Harmless Byproducts
White Papers : Electronics & Computers
Understanding Aeration

Aeration may seem friendly in a cup of coffee or soda, but it's deadly for powertrain components. All forms of aeration (air bubbles, foam and dissolved air) are harmful, especially in the context of hydraulic and lubricating systems. Aeration is not a new phenomenon, but is a growing threat. Engine downsizing, higher...

Briefs : Energy
New Engine Optics to Fuel Future Research
New Engine Optics to Fuel Future Research

An optical setup developed by researchers at Sandia's Combustion Research Facility and the Technical University of Denmark can now quantify the formation of soot — particulate matter consisting...

New Engine Optics to Fuel Future Research
Briefs : Internet of Things
Interoperable Intelligent Controllers for Process Management and Control Networks

NASA Johnson Space Center developed reprogrammable and interchangeable electronic controllers that can attach to a system or subsystem wirelessly or through plug-and-play capability. Originally designed to work with rocket engines, this technology can control...

Briefs : Energy
Green Electric Monopropellant (GEM)-Fueled Pulsed Plasma Thruster

NASA required a rocket thruster able to produce a number of pulses at high specific impulse at a relatively low voltage (~300 to 400V). The key problem was that existing propellants for liquid-fueled pulsed plasma thrusters (LPPTs) required high voltages to ablate and accelerate...

Articles : Design
SAE WCX: Bringing You the Future of Mobility
SAE WCX: Bringing You the Future of Mobility

WCX™ World Congress Experience 2019 — presented by SAE International — is for forward-thinking engineers, executives, OEMs, suppliers, decision-makers, disruptors, and the entire spectrum of...

SAE WCX: Bringing You the Future of Mobility
Briefs : Software
Real-Time, Fuel-Optimal, Powered Descent Guidance Using Interpolated Time-of-Flight and Propellant Mass

Soft landing using rockets requires a trajectory to be planned for the lander from rocket ignition — typically several kilometers in altitude and moving at up to 200 m/s — to the point near the surface with near-zero velocity. The exact...

Briefs : Software
Small-Body Dynamics Toolkit Version 5.0

The Small-Body Dynamics Toolkit (SBDT) v5.0 is a collection of primitive-body-specific trajectory design and analysis tools written in MATLAB®. The SBDT gives the user the capabilities to propagate, analyze, and visualize spacecraft trajectories and the dynamical environment near realistic asteroid,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Sublimable Propellant Source for Iodine-Fed Ion Propulsion System

NASA Marshall has developed a system for generating iodine vapor from solid iodine for use as a propellant in a Hall or ion thruster propulsion system. Xenon has generally been the preferred propellant for these spacecraft ion propulsion systems but more recently, iodine-based...

Briefs : Energy
Fuel Cell/Fuel Cell Hybrid System

Fuel cells can deliver clean, reliable, and uninterrupted power nearly 100 percent of the time. Fuel cells offer the advantage of efficiency by converting chemical energy directly to electricity. They have no moving parts, thereby eliminating failures associated with pumps, blowers, heat exchangers, and other...

Briefs : Aerospace
Effects of Reynolds and Mach Numbers in Large Eddy Simulation of Supersonic Round Jets

Rockets/landers arrive on the Moon with supersonic speed and impact lunar regolith. There is no reliable software to computationally simulate in an effective way the supersonic plumes escaping from these rockets/devices. A Large Eddy Simulation (LES) model and...

Briefs : Power
High-Voltage Power Line Multi-Sensor System
High-Voltage Power Line Multi-Sensor System

Government infrastructure facilities such as water treatment facilities, power plants, laboratories, and the like may be targets for terrorist attacks. Similarly, oil pipelines, power grids,...

High-Voltage Power Line Multi-Sensor System
Briefs : Aerospace
Rocket Nozzle Side-Load Analysis Software
Rocket Nozzle Side-Load Analysis Software

Lateral nozzle forces are known to cause severe structural damage during testing of any new rocket engine configuration under development. While three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD)...

Rocket Nozzle Side-Load Analysis Software
Briefs : Aerospace
Modular, Multi-Mode-Propulsion, Unmanned Aerial Concept
Modular, Multi-Mode-Propulsion, Unmanned Aerial Concept

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed an unmanned aerial vehicle concept for long-range, distributed aerial presence and delivery applications. This aircraft concept is capable...

Modular, Multi-Mode-Propulsion, Unmanned Aerial Concept
Application Briefs : Transportation
One-Cable Automation Streamlines Robotic Non-Destructive Inspection Systems
One-Cable Automation Streamlines Robotic Non-Destructive Inspection Systems

There are few industries where the demands for material testing and quality assurance are more challenging than in the aerospace industry. Ensuring the safety of all...

One-Cable Automation Streamlines Robotic Non-Destructive Inspection Systems
Briefs : Propulsion
Ducted Fuel Injection for Soot Reduction
Ducted Fuel Injection for Soot Reduction

Typical direct-injection engines, such as diesel engines, can produce soot due to fuel-rich combustion conditions. Filters and catalytic converters are currently used to reduce soot and harmful...

Ducted Fuel Injection for Soot Reduction
Briefs : Propulsion
Submarine Swims Without an Engine
Submarine Swims Without an Engine

Researchers have developed a new propulsion concept for swimming robots that exploits temperature fluctuations in the water for propulsion without the need for an engine, propellant, or power supply.

Submarine Swims Without an Engine
INSIDER : Power
Plane Flies with No Moving Parts
Plane Flies with No Moving Parts

Since the first airplane took flight, virtually every aircraft has flown with the help of moving parts such as propellers, turbine blades, or fans that produce a persistent, whining buzz. MIT has built the...

Plane Flies with No Moving Parts
Articles : Electronics & Computers
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Consumer Products Category Winner
2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Consumer Products Category Winner

ALUMINUM-POWERED ELECTRICITY GENERATION

Aluminum has an incredibly high energy density — double that of gasoline and an order of magnitude greater than...

2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Consumer Products Category Winner