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
Site Tamper and Material Plow Tool — STAMP

A non-actuated tool has been developed for preparing regolith for in situ measurement by smoothing uneven surfaces and excavating fresher subsurface material for planetary exploration. The STAMP...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetic Interface for Segmented Mirror Assembly

Newly developed magnetic devices are used to create an interface between adjacent mirror segments so that once assembled, aligned, and phased, the multiple segments will behave functionally equivalent to a monolithic aperture mirror. One embodiment might be a kinematic interface that is reversible...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Transpiration-Cooled Spacecraft-Insulation-Repair Fasteners

Transpiration-cooled fasteners are proposed that operate like an open-loop heat pipe (self-tapping screws, bolts, and spikes) for use in on-orbit repair of thermal-insulation of a space shuttle or other spacecraft. By limiting the temperature rise of such a fastener and of the adjacent...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Implementation of a Non-Metallic Barrier in an Electric Motor

Electric motors that run in pure oxygen must be sealed, or “canned,” for safety reasons to prevent the oxygen from entering into the electrical portion of the motor. The current canning process involves designing a metallic barrier around the rotor to provide the separation. This...

The addition of the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover requires an...

This apparatus distributes dust (typical of the Martian surface) in a uniform fashion on the surface of multiple samples simultaneously. The primary innovation...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
MicroProbe Small Unmanned Aerial System

The MicroProbe unmanned aerial system (UAS) concept incorporates twin electric motors mounted on the vehicle wing, thus enabling an aerodynamically and environmentally clean nose area for atmospheric sensors. A payload bay is also incorporated in the fuselage to accommodate remote sensing instruments.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Umbilical Deployment Device

The landing scheme for NASA’s next-generation Mars rover will encompass a novel landing technique (see figure). The rover will be lowered from a rocket-powered descent stage and then placed onto the surface...

A unit thermionic power cell (TPC) concept has been developed that converts natural heat found in high-temperature environments (460 to 700 ºC) into electrical power...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Graph Theory Roots of Spatial Operators for Kinematics and Dynamics

Spatial operators have been used to analyze the dynamics of robotic multibody systems and to develop novel computational dynamics algorithms. Mass matrix factorization, inversion, diagonalization, and linearization are among several new insights obtained using such operators....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Spacesuit Soft Upper Torso Sizing Systems

The passive sizing system consists of a series of low-profile pulleys attached to the front and back of the shoulder bearings on a spacesuit soft upper torso (SUT), textile cord or stainless steel cable, and a modified commercial ratchet mechanism. The cord/cable is routed through the pulleys and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Space Mirror Alignment System

An optical alignment mirror mechanism (AMM) has been developed with angular positioning accuracy of ±0.2 arcsec. This requires the mirror’s linear positioning actuators to have positioning resolutions of ±112 nm to enable the mirror to meet the angular tip/tilt accuracy requirement. Demonstrated capabilities are...

Researchers with DOE’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have engineered the first strains of Escherichia coli bacteria that can digest switchgrass biomass and...

A research team from the University of Georgia has developed a "super strain" of yeast that can efficiently ferment ethanol from pretreated pine - one of the most common species of trees in the U.S. Their...

With the DOE, Virent, Inc., and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) working together, planes may soon take to the skies using less petroleum. In June, DOE announced an award of up to $13.4 million dollars...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pressure Regulator With Internal Ejector Circulation Pump, Flow and Pressure Measurement Porting, and Fuel Cell System Integration Options

An advanced reactant pressure regulator with an internal ejector reactant circulation pump has been developed to support NASA’s future fuel cell power systems needs. These needs include reliable and safe...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two-Stage Centrifugal Fan

Fan designs are often constrained by envelope, rotational speed, weight, and power. Aerodynamic performance and motor electrical performance are heavily influenced by rotational speed. The fan used in this work is at a practical limit for rotational speed due to motor performance characteristics, and there is no more...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Combined Structural and Trajectory Control of Variable-Geometry Planetary Entry Systems

Some of the key challenges of planetary entry are to dissipate the large kinetic energy of the entry vehicle and to land with precision. Past missions to Mars were based on unguided entry, where entry vehicles carried payloads of less than 0.6 T and landed...

Articles: Transportation
Transportation Category Winner
Dynamic Aero-Shroud Oscillating Jet Rebecca Farr, Endwell Daso, Victor Pritchett, and Dr. Ten-See Wang, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

Applying supersonic counter-flowing cold gas jets...

Polcak is a civil engineer by training and acoustical/noise control engineer by practice. He deals with transportation noise analysis and mitigation. Polcak's...

The AutoTram® is as long as a streetcar and as maneuverable as a bus. It doesn’t need rails or overhead lines because it rolls on rubber tires and simply follows white lines...

Products: Energy
Automotive-Qualified IGBTs Optimized for Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Applications

International Rectifier (El Segundo, CA) has released automotive-qualified 600 V IGBTs optimized for variable speed motor control and power supply applications used in electric and hybrid vehicles. The new devices cover a broad current range and offer a...

A development by engineers of Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is inspired by nature. To fill the porous electrodes of lithium-ion batteries more rapidly with liquid...

Products: Transportation
Automotive IC

STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) introduces the L99PM72PXP, an automotive IC supporting advanced networking technology to unlock valuable improvements in fuel efficiency and emissions. The new chip reduces the energy...

The 2011 CAFE Green Flight Challenge has a winner! NASA awarded a $1.35-million first place prize to team Pipistrel-USA of State College, PA. The team's electric Taurus G4 aircraft...

Fraunhofer scientists working on electronic drives have replaced a battery box for lithium-ion batteries with a lightweight component. Not only does the housing save weight and sustain no...

MUTE, an electric vehicle from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), is an agile, sporty two-seater for regional road traffic. Its lithium-ion battery is designed to guarantee a range of at least 100...

Hybrid Power Management (HPM) is the integration of diverse, state-of-the-art power devices in an optimal configuration for space and terrestrial applications. The basic vehicle architecture...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Crush Test Abuse Stand

The purpose of this system is to simulate an internal short on battery cells by causing deformation (a crushing force) in a cell without penetration. This is performed by activating a hydraulic cylinder on one side of a blast wall with a hydraulic pump located on the other. The operator can control the rate of the crush by...

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