Stay updated on advancements in mechanical components and mechatronics systems. New technologies in MEMs, fluid systems, and propulsion are driving breakthroughs in transportation, electrification, autonomous driving, and manufacturing.

News: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Intelligent Machine Tool Prototype

A research group led by Professor Shirase Keiichi of the Kobe University Graduate School of Engineering has developed a prototype machine tool that can manufacture metal components and operates like a 3D...

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...

MIT engineers developed a microfluidic device that replicates the neuromuscular junction — the vital connection where nerve meets muscle. The device, about the size of a U.S....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Latching Piezocomposite Actuator

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a self-latching piezocomposite actuator. The self-latching nature of this invention allows for piezo actuators that do not require constant power draw. Among other applications, the invention is well suited for use in aerodynamic control surfaces and engine...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method

To train astronauts to live and work in the weightless environment on the International Space Station, NASA employs a number of techniques and facilities that simulate microgravity. Engineers at the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Fluid Harmonic Absorber

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Fluid Structure Coupling (FSC) technology is a highly efficient and passive method to control the way fluids and structures communicate and dictate the behavior of a system. This...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Variable-Aperture Reciprocating Reed Valve

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center engineers have developed a new reed valve for controlling fluid flow back and forth between two chambers. The VARR valve provides two-way flow that is proportional to flow demand. As the pressure gradient builds on one side, the reed valve responds by opening an...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Passive, Integrated, Sublimator-Driven Coldplate

Spacecraft thermal control systems typically perform three key functions — heat acquisition, heat transport, and heat rejection — in addition to those of insulation, heat generation, and heat storage. In a typical pumped fluid-loop spacecraft thermal control system, heat is acquired from...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Strat-X

Experiments in space can be expensive and infrequent, but Earth’s upper atmosphere is accessible via large scientific balloons, and can be used to address many of the same fundamental questions. Scientific balloons are made of a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Hydraulic Pressure Distribution System

Human operation in space over long time periods causes bone and muscle deterioration, so there is a need for countermeasures in the form of physical exercises consisting of working against controlled...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectric-Actuated Rotary Ultrasonic Motor

This actuator was developed out of a need for a cryogenic actuator that can operate effectively in spite of the thermal mismatch involved with construction materials that have different...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Dust Tolerant Connectors

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has developed a novel ruggedized housing for an electrical or fluid umbilical connector that prevents intrusion of dust, sand, dirt, mud, and moisture during field use under harsh...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Systems, Methods, and Apparatus of a Low-Conductance Silicon Micro-Leak for Mass Spectrometer Inlet

Mass spectrometers on atmospheric entry probes require a method for introducing gas from high-pressure ambient regions to the vacuum of the mass spectrometer interior.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed three techniques and systems to calibrate and validate...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Release of a Stuck Solar Array or Antenna

Satellite launches experience approximately one deployment failure every two years. These failures include a solar array or antenna that fails to deploy because it is stuck due to a mechanism failure, or is snagged by a cable or thermal blanket. Knowledge of the exact circumstances of the deployable...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Heat-Flux-Capable Boundary Layer Vortex Generator and Boundary Layer Transition Device

Afixed geometry device has been developed to promote boundary layer transition and generation of streamwise vorticity, and is capable of withstanding entry heating environments for the Space Shuttle Orbiter. Designed to have a total height above the...

Because of the cost-effectiveness of flying smallsats compared to large flagship spacecraft, there is increasing interest in boosting their capabilities for...

News: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Space Station Crew 3D Prints Student-Designed Tool

A college student who won a NASA design challenge recently had the tool he designed 3D-printed on the Additive Manufacturing Facility on the International Space Station. The Multipurpose...

News: Materials
Researchers Keep Hydrogels Hydrated

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a way to prevent hydrogels from dehydrating. The water-based technique could lead to longer-lasting contact lenses, stretchy microfluidic devices, flexible bioelectronics, and even artificial skin.

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...

News: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Core Alignment Fusion Splicer

Furukawa Electric (Tokyo, Japan) and OFS (Norcross, GA) recently introduced the FITEL S179 Hand-Held, Core Alignment Fusion Splicer. The FITEL S179 Fusion Splicer can be used on all Metro, LAN and FTTx fibers,...

News: Photonics/Optics
Three-Axis Gimbal Mount

The high precision, AU300-XZ Motorized Three-axis Gimbal Mount from Optimal Engineering Systems, Inc. (OES) (Van Nuys, CA) features full 360O rotation of each axis. The rigid black anodized aluminum alloy frame...

As CubeSats take on increased functionality, including larger solar arrays for increased power demands and large antennas for science and communications needs, the requirements for...

Aridged retention interface is necessary to secure planetary sample tubes within a caching system for use in future sample return missions. The assumed retention...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Planetary Ice Mining by Down-Hole Energy Injection

Ice has been discovered on Mars and is present in the permanently shadowed craters on the Moon and on many asteroids. The ice is usually buried beneath an overburden of regolith. Evidence indicates this overburden may be a meter deep in some locations for the Moon; for Mars, it varies with...

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...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster

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...

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