Mechanical/​Mechatronics

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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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Novel Vent Design Features Variable Flow Control and Rain Protection

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center scientists have designed a vent that can be useful for purging closed compartments, while preventing backflow and foreign object entry. The technology uses a system of configurable devices to provide variable flow control and prevent water,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An orifice element is commonly used in liquid rocket engine test facilities either as a flow metering device, a damper for acoustic resonance, or to provide a large reduction in pressure over a very...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Electrochemically Enhanced Mechanical Polishing of Optics

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center astrophysicists are developing better instruments to measure high-energy X-rays zipping about space when viewed from above the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists at MSFC adapted a novel method for material removal and super-polishing to the mandrel...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Friction Pull Plug Welding (FPPW) is the process necessary to plug the hole that is left behind as a friction stir weld (FSW) joint is completed and the pin tool of the welder retracts from the...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping

The Create the Future Design Contest has helped stimulate and reward engineering innovation over the past 16 years, drawing more than 14,000 product designs from engineers, students, and...

NASA Spinoff: Transportation

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

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Contact design is critical to the performance of any connector — especially for devices that must function in harsh environments where extremes of temperature, shock, and vibration are...

Briefs: Aerospace

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed a foam-rigidized, inflatable, tubular space boom that can be transported, deployed, and inflated at remote locations. The lightweight...

Articles: Medical

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that...

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Energy Saving Filter for Removal of Heavy Metals from Water Volodymyr Khranovskyy, R. Yakimova, Ivan Shtepliuk, P. Lima de Carvalho, and A. Pinto
Talent...
INSIDER: Motion Control

An engineering team at the University of California San Diego has designed and built a gripper that can pick up and manipulate objects without needing to see them and without...

INSIDER: Aerospace

At Orbital ATK, Mark Ogren works on the preliminary design of the company’s propulsion technologies, including targets, interceptors, or space launch vehicles. Ogren spoke with Tech...

INSIDER: Aerospace

On a snowy day in 1926, a 44-year-old physicist named Robert Goddard went with his wife Esther and some colleagues to his Aunt Effie’s ranch in Auburn,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plasma-Assisted Catalytic Reverse Water Gas Shift Reactor

For improving CO2 conversions for a low-temperature CO2 methanation process, a mechanism of using reverse water gas shift (RWGS) reaction as an intermediate step to generate the more reactive CO species for the methanation process was developed. The challenge was to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Future space missions incorporating solar electric propulsion (SEP) will require large solar arrays that are an order of magnitude larger than the current state of the art for deployable arrays. This...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vented Launch Vehicle Adapter for a Manned Spacecraft With “Pusher” Launch Abort System

A Launch Vehicle Adapter (LVA) was developed that provides a structural interface between a Commercial Crew Vehicle (CCV) Crew Module/Service Module Spacecraft (CM/SM) and an expendable launch vehicle. It also provides a means to control the exhaust plume...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Uncontrolled and rapid movement of equipment and people through security gates has been a major problem for security personnel. In situations pertaining to facility security, it is desirable to delay the passage of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Traditional heat shield design isolates the functions of the thermal protection system (TPS) from the underlying load-carrying structure. This is due to the use of brittle TPS material that...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Electrical circuits such as printed wiring boards or hybrid microcircuits designed to utilize surface mount electrical components are commonly assembled by computer-controlled automated...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are critical devices for various highly sensitive applications; however, the development and potential fielding of these next-generation smart systems is currently...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Tuned mass dampers are used worldwide to mitigate vibrations in structures like buildings and bridges where excessive movement can be alarming or even sickening to occupants. The...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Origami has once again inspired engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Besides aesthetic beauty, the Japanese tradition of paper-folding addresses a...

INSIDER: Photonics/Optics

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. With a 21-foot diameter, the telescope’s primary mirror is six times larger than the one...

News: Automotive

Today's vehicles feature traditional internal combustion engines, hybrid, plugin, and electric drivetrains. A reader asks: "Which power-plant choice will take the lead in...

Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Sensors have a key role in industrial production. For example, they can be used for quality and process monitoring or condition-based maintenance. The range of applications...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Aspacecraft thermal control system must keep the vehicle, avionics, and atmosphere (if crewed) within a defined temperature range. Water coolant loops are typically used to transport...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Power, Lightweight, Ultra-Compact Reverse Water Gas Shift Reactor

Utilizing CO2 to produce H2O and O2 is critical for sustained manned missions in space, and supports both NASA’s cabin Atmosphere Revitalization System (ARS) and ln-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) concepts. For long-term missions beyond low...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An airlock used in space can provide the ability to leave a pressurized volume and enter free space. This is necessary to perform maintenance or make repairs to the pressurized volume or visiting spacecraft,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Carbon Nanotube Purification

Development of carbon nanotubes (CNTs), including single-wall and multi-wall nanotubes and nanofibers, into useful devices requires fabrication of CNTs that are relatively free from process residues such as amorphous carbon and metallic particles that are not part of a CNT array grown on a (coated) substrate....

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