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.

Briefs: Propulsion
Multi-Thruster Propulsion Apparatus

Two different types of electrostatic thrusters are used to propel spacecraft: ion thrusters and Hall-effect thrusters. Ion thrusters have the benefit of relatively high exhaust velocities with higher overall thrust efficiencies. Hall-effect thrusters typically offer higher thrust-to-power ratios, but they...

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...

Briefs: Motion Control
BiBlade Sampling Chain

The BiBlade sampler has been developed for potentially acquiring samples from the surface of a planetary body. The tool could conceivably be used in both in situ and notional sample return missions to planetary bodies...

INSIDER: Medical
Magnetic Fields Enable New Soft Robots

Researchers from North Carolina State University have a found a new way to control robots. The team used magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices.

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...

The Orion Crew-Service Module (CM/SM) umbilical retention and release mechanism supports, protects, and disconnects all of the cross-module commodities...

Great strides are taken to miniaturize spaceflight instrumentation, particularly analytical systems such as liquid chromatographs, gas chromatographs, and mass...

Fluid-pumped radiators are used to reject heat from structures to space. A fluid travels inside the structure to collect heat, and then travels...

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...

Question of the Week: Software
Can augmented reality reduce "road rage?"

This week’s Question: A new "CarNote" app from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands aims to use augmented reality to improve the driving experience and reduce "road rage." CarNote's driver-facing periscope lens and transparent display projects information from a smartphone,...

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...

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...

Articles: Motion Control
Adding SCADA to a Hydraulic Power Unit

With an increased focus on plant productivity and equipment reliability, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems have become vital tools to reduce downtime while increasing asset...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Airfoil-Shaped Fluid Flow Tool for Use in Making Differential Measurements

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a suite of adaptable flow measurement devices that can be easily installed without compromising the structural integrity of existing conduits. With their simple installation procedures, the devices can be...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezo-Actuated, Fast-Acting Control Valve

High-power electric propulsion systems have the potential to revolutionize space propulsion due to their extremely high performance. This can result in significant propellant savings on space vehicles, allowing the overall mass to shrink for launch on a less expensive vehicle, or to allow the space...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Interface Between STAR-CCM+ and 42 for Enhanced Fuel Slosh Analysis

Fuel slosh is excited during spacecraft maneuvers. The forces and torques exerted on the spacecraft by the slosh must be controlled by the attitude control system to maintain correct pointing and spacecraft orbit. In some rare cases, the attitude control system may excite the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanisms for Achieving Non-Sinusoidal Waveforms on Stirling Engines

The current state-of-the-art Stirling engines use sinusoidal piston and displacer motion to drive the thermodynamic cycle and produce power. Research performed at NASA Glenn has shown that non-sinusoidal waveforms have the potential to increase Stirling engine power density,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
RFID Cavity

This technology provides a method for interrogating collections of items with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. It increases the read accuracy, meaning that more of the item tags will be successfully read. It also permits smaller tag antennas than would otherwise be necessary.

Briefs: Aerospace
Method for Asteroid Volatile Extraction in Space

Some meteorites representative of certain classes of asteroids are 25% or more water by weight. This is consistent with infrared spectra of some asteroids, indicating hydrated minerals are abundant in some varieties of carbonaceous chondrite asteroids. Since water is very valuable in space, it...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improving Stirling Engine Performance Through Optimized Piston and Displacer Motion

Stirling engines typically achieve high efficiency, but lack power density. Low power density prevents them from being used in many applications where internal combustion engines are viable competitors, and increases system costs in applications that require...

NASA Technology

Rocket launches—or earthquakes—are already punishing experiences. But it turns out there are some things that can make them worse: like if the vibrations hit the structure...

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,...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Machine-Learning System Recognizes Sounds from Video

A machine learning system from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recognizes sounds by watching video. The neural network interprets natural sounds in terms of image categories, without hand-annotated training data.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetic Relief Valve
A magnetically retained pressure-relief valve enables quick-open on/off operation when overpressure is reached.

Inventors at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center have developed a magnetically retained, fast-response...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Work Piece Cleaning Apparatus and Method with Pulsating Mixture of Liquid and Gas

NASA Goddard’s scientists have developed a novel, volatile organic compound (VOC)-free system for cleaning tubing and piping that significantly reduces cost and carbon consumption. The innovative technology enables the use of deionized water in place of costlier...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Safety Drain System for Fluid Reservoir

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a system that reduces the entrapment risks associated with a pool or spa’s recirculation drain. The technology prevents hazards caused by suction forces on the body, hair, clothing, or other articles. Employing a novel configuration of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Locking Mechanism for a Flexible Composite Hinge

Composites have excellent strength characteristics, are lightweight, and are increasingly being used in space applications. However, they are highly inflexible and require hinged joints when...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Temperature-Compensating PMT Housing

Shrinking or contracting light guides is a problem when photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) are glued to the guides. If there is no way to allow movement of the PMTs, when the temperature goes down, the light guide contracts and breaks the glue joint. The PMTs cannot be left loose to rattle around inside the...

Products: Automotive
Air Compressor

Gardner Denver Thomas (Sheboygan, WI) offers the 2380 series twin WOB-L® piston oil-less air compressor designed for pressure/vacuum and high flow. It provides 100 psi (6.9 bar) maximum pressure with open flow of 2.3 cfm (65...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Protecting Power Electronics from EM and RF Interference

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

Vehicle Electrification

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The Evolution of SOSA

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Next-Gen Vehicle Architectures and the Role of HPCs

Tech Talks: Medical

Testing Home Healthcare Medical Devices

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Accelerating Pre-Silicon Software Development with Next-Gen...

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