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.

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Etching Method Boosts Nanofiber Production

A new technique from MIT researchers boosts production of nanofibers fourfold, while cutting energy consumption by more than 90 percent. Potential nanofiber applications include solar cells, water filtration, and fuel cells.

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Researcher Develops World’s Smallest Micro Motor

Micro actuators are needed for numerous applications, ranging from mobile and wearable devices, to minimally invasive medical devices. However, the limitations associated with their...

To the naked eye, buildings and bridges appear fixed in place, unmoved by forces like wind and rain. But in fact, these large structures do experience imperceptibly small vibrations...

A patented passive cooling system for computer processors from the University of Alabama could save U.S. consumers more than $6.3 billion per year in energy costs...

NASA researchers, working with the Air Force Research Laboratory and FlexSys of Ann Arbor, MI, successfully completed initial flight tests of a new morphing wing...

Search-and-rescue operations, package delivery, and underwater exploration could all be performed soon by intelligent machines. The Autonomy Incubator group at NASA Langley is...

A valve cage consists of a stackable planar structure design with paths that are azimuthally cut out and connected radially. The pattern causes the flow to move...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Diminutive Assembly for Nanosatellite deploYables (DANY) Miniature Release Mechanism

CubeSat appendices such as solar panels and antennas often need to be constrained by a release mechanism during launch. These appendices are then deployed once the desired orbit is reached. The usual constraint method used is a combination of an unpredictable/...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Quantitative Real-Time Flow Visualization Technique

There is a need for experimental techniques that have low cost and rapid turnaround. It is also necessary to obtain quantitative information from such a method. Previous methods are either lacking in quantitative information such as dye or smoke injection, or require considerable set-up and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Thin-Film Evaporative Cooling for Side-Pumped Lasers

A highly efficient way to cool solid-state crystal lasers was developed. This thin-film evaporative cooling technique offers higher optical efficiencies and monochromatic quality than traditional conductive cooling techniques. Developed for use in side-pumped 2.0- micron laser systems used in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
MEMS Micro-Translation Stage with Large Linear Travel Capability

A MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) micro-translation stage (MTS) with large linear travel capability was developed that uses capacitive electrostatic forces created by stators arranged linearly on both sides of a channel, and matching rotors on a moveable shuttle for precise...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Wearable Device Turns Thumbnail into Trackpad

MIT Media Laboratory researchers are developing a wearable device that turns the user’s thumbnail into a miniature wireless track pad.

INSIDER: Aerospace
Engineers Develop 2D Liquid

Soft nanoparticles from a University of Pennsylvania research team stick to the plane where oil and water meet, but do not stick to one another. The interface presents a potentially useful set of properties. The nanoparticles freely move past one another while being confined to the interface, effectively acting as a...

INSIDER: Aerospace
Special Delivery: NASA Marshall Receives 3D-Printed Tools from Space

Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, unboxed some special cargo from the International Space Station on April 6: the first items manufactured in space with a 3D printer.

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smart Sensor System Continuously Monitors Machinery

A new method of continuously monitoring the status of machinery is a mobile tablet-based system that supplies information on the operational state of industrial machinery and plant...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
ACS Anchor Guide Stud and Caddy

An alignment guide and a mounting interface for two of the repair tools on orbit during the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4 (see SM4) were developed. This design can be installed in a timely manner, and was specifically developed for a worksite with minimal access and minimal visual line-of-sight to the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Next-Generation, Lightweight Hard Upper Torso/Hatch Assembly

The current MK-III carbon-graphite/epoxy Hard Upper Torso (HUT)/hatch assembly represented an 8.3 psi (≈57 kPa) technology demonstrator model of a zero pre-breathe suit. In this configuration, the MK-III suit weighed about 120 lb (≈54 kg). Since future lunar/planetary suits will...

Briefs: Aerospace
Elastic Deployable Composite Tubular Roll-Out Boom

The objective of this work was to develop an innovative deployable boom/structure technology that is ultra-lightweight (<30-grams/meter potential), and has extremely compact stowage volume (>100:1 compaction ratio), broad scalability (no size limits envisioned), high deployed frequency,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Reduced-Speed Duplex-Ring Seal

Ring seals are used in rotating union applications where a fluid flow or hydraulic pressure signal is transferred from a static reference frame to a rotating component, such as a shaft, for the purpose of providing lubrication and/or a hydraulic signal to a component(s) in a rotating frame of reference. Ring seals...

Briefs: Aerospace
Performing Launch Depressurization Test on Large Test Articles Using Two Vacuum Chambers in Tandem

Two vacuum chambers were used in tandem to perform a launch depressurization test. The test article was mounted in a 10-ft (≈3 m) Vertical Vacuum Chamber (Chamber 248-10). The 25-ft (≈7.6-m) Space Simulator (Chamber 150-25) was rough-pumped and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pyramid Micro-Electrofluidic-Spray Propulsion Thruster with Integrated Attitude and Thrust Vector Control

A micro-electrofluidic-spray propulsion (MEP) system was built on a micro scale, in which arrays of hundreds of nano-thrusters are etched on silicon wafers like ICs, only a centimeter on a side. Many dozens of these thruster chips can be...

Sample return missions have the ability to vastly increase scientific understanding of the origin, history, current status, and resource potential of solar system objects including...

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Products of Tomorrow: April 2015

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft...

Products: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetic Encoders

POSITAL (Hamilton, NJ) introduced new models of IXARC magnetic encoders that combine incremental and absolute rotation measurement capabilities in a single, compact package. Absolute encoders provide a control system with a...

Products: Motion Control
Planetary Gearbox

GAM (Mount Prospect, IL) offers the SPH inline planetary gearbox with helical gears for dynamic and cyclic applications, as well highspeed and continuous duty applications. It is available in six frame sizes with nominal...

Products: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Clutches

U.S. Tsubaki Power Transmission, LLC (Wheeling, IL) announced Cam Clutch unidirectional/ mechanical clutches that lock the inner and outer races through the locking action of cams, transmitting torque in one direction of rotation...

Products: Motion Control
Bearings

igus (East Providence, RI) offers xiros® ball bearings with ball races made from high-performance polymer iglide® A500. The bearings are maintenance- and lubrication-free, and are designed for temperatures up to 302 °F. They are...

Products: Motion Control
Electric Cylinder

SMAC (Carlsbad, CA) introduced the CBL50 electric cylinder designed to achieve peak force of 50N at 2 Amp current, and acceleration up to 40G. It features carriage-free design and built-in linear bearings. It is available...

Products: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stages

Optimal Engineering Systems (Van Nuys, CA) released low-profile XYθ (theta) stages that move in an XY-plane and rotate around the center of the XY-plane. Available in 12 models in two precision grades, the stages have linear travels...

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