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: 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: Software
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: Transportation
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...

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,...

Special Reports: Automotive
Powertrain - February 2019

The latest powertrain innovations for cars and commercial vehicles are featured in this Special Report, a compendium of recent articles from the editors of Automotive Engineering and Truck & Off-Highway...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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)...

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...

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...

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...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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.

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...

ALUMINUM-POWERED ELECTRICITY GENERATION

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

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
NASA at 60: Celebrating Success

Over the past 60 years, NASA scientists and engineers have developed many advanced technologies and processes. But NASA has also partnered with industry, using commercially available products to complete its missions. Here, some of those companies join NASA in celebrating these collaborative successes.

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
NASA at 60: 1958-2018 Decades of Discovery

For six decades, NASA has led the peaceful exploration of space, making discoveries about our planet, our solar system, and our universe. At home, NASA research has made great advances in aviation,...

The objective of this effort was to design, fabricate, integrate, and fly a nuclear thermal rocket without having to build massive ground test facilities. Furthermore, this nuclear rocket...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Piezoelectric Thrust Vector Control for Hall Effect Thruster

The design of the CubeSat required precision pointing of the thrust vector through the spacecraft center of gravity to minimize fuel usage for attitude correction. Because the center of gravity shifts over the course of the mission, a means of adjusting the thrust vector was needed....

Briefs: Propulsion
Non-Toxic HAN Monopropellant Propulsion

A highly miniaturized, MR-143, green monopropellant thruster was developed for 1N thrust. Testing indicated the initial catalyst bed heater was insufficient. In subsequent development, the thruster was equipped with a more efficient catalyst bed heater. For reliable ignition of the advanced, non-toxic,...

Briefs: Energy
Electrode Design Boosts Supercapacitor Performance

Supercapacitors are rechargeable energy storage devices that deliver more power for their size than similar-sized batteries. They also recharge quickly, and they last for hundreds to thousands of recharging cycles. Today, they are used in hybrid cars’ regenerative braking systems and for other...

NASA's Glenn Research Center has developed a novel Double-acting Extremely Light Thermo-Acoustic (DELTA) converter that operates at high frequencies (>400 Hz) with greatly...

Simulation tools offer insight into the physical processes of heavy-duty engines. But what about natural wear and tear?
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Offset Compound Gear Inline Two-Speed Drive

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a simple, lightweight, inline, two-speed drive that can be used either as an overall transmission, or as a supplemental add-on input...

NASA Langley Research Center has developed Greased Lightning, the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that combines vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability with...

Briefs: Propulsion
Method for Establishing Cool Flames and Flameless Fuel Oxidation with Zero Emissions Using Non-Equilibrium Plasma Activation

Current engines and combustors run at high temperature, which leads to problems of engine knocking, soot and NOx emissions, and difficulty in combustion control. On the other hand, low-temperature combustion and fuel...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Affordable Vehicle Avionics (AVA)

NASA Ames Research Center has developed a novel, low-cost, self-contained guidance system for small payload operators. Small satellites are becoming ever more capable of performing valuable missions for both...

Does less nitrogen oxide mean more particulate emissions? A reader asks our expert.

Large-scale liquid rocket engines with regeneratively cooled nozzles will enable reliable and reduced-cost access to space. The coolant that circulates through the internal...

Briefs: Propulsion
Variable Bypass Turbofan Engine

Many aircraft need to operate efficiently at more than one flight regime; for example, certain airframes are expected to perform in relatively high-speed cruise modes, as well as slower loitering scenarios. Unfortunately, an engine operates most efficiently when the exit velocity closely matches the speed of the...

Briefs: Propulsion
New Methods in Preparing and Purifying Nanomaterials

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have made several breakthroughs in treating hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) nanomaterials, improving their properties to supplant carbon nanotubes in many applications. These inventors have greatly enhanced the processes of intercalation and...

Webcasts

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Understanding O-ring Complexity in the Aerospace Industry

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The Path to High-Level Autonomy for Commercial Vehicles

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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

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