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
Ultra-Compact Heat Rejection System

Radiator panels are the baseline heat rejection approach for most space systems. This approach is sound, but requires a large amount of surface area to radiate the anticipated heat load. The large panels require support structures to hold them in place and prevent damage. These structures impact mass and cost....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Transformable and Reconfigurable Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems and Methods

The Adaptable, Deployable Entry Placement Technology (ADEPT) concept is a mechanically deployable, semi-rigid aeroshell entry system capable of achieving low ballistic coefficient during entry for planetary or Earth return missions. The decelerator system offers a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

NASA Glenn researchers have developed a spoked drive mechanism for robots and other vehicles that is capable of two rotational modes. This robust ground traction (drive) assembly for remotely controlled vehicles...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nanotube-Based Device Cooling System

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being studied for applications in high-strength/low-weight composites and other applications. Recent research on thermal dissipation materials for high-power electronic devices is generating a lot of interest in various industries. NASA has developed a method for cooling a device,...

News: Manufacturing & Prototyping

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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
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

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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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: Robotics, Automation & Control
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: Robotics, Automation & Control
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

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

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...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Intricate tasks that require dexterous in-hand manipulation — rolling, pivoting, bending, and sensing friction — are a challenge for today's robots. A University of Washington team of computer scientists...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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: Robotics, Automation & Control
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.

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

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

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
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: Robotics, Automation & Control
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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

INSIDER: Automotive

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...

INSIDER: Medical
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.

INSIDER Product: Imaging

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,...

INSIDER Product: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A flow battery can be recharged quickly by replacing its electrolyte liquid. Previous versions of liquid batteries, however, have relied on complex systems of tanks, valves, and pumps, adding to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

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