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.

As industries and consumers seek improved battery power sources, a new microscopy technique developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers is providing a novel...

Purdue University researchers have developed a facility aimed at learning precisely how coal and biomass are broken down in reactors called gasifiers as part of a project to strengthen the scientific...

The era of personalized energy systems — in which individual homes and small businesses produce their own energy for heating, cooling, and powering cars — took...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Acoustic Liner for Turbomachinery Applications

The purpose of this innovation is to reduce aircraft noise in the communities surrounding airports by significantly attenuating the noise generated by the turbomachinery, and enhancing safety by providing a containment barrier for a blade failure. Acoustic liners are used in today’s turbofan...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Large-Flow-Area Flow-Selective Liquid/Gas Separator

This liquid/gas separator provides the basis for a first stage of a fuel cell product water/oxygen gas phase separator. It can separate liquid and gas in bulk in multiple gravity environments. The system separates fuel cell product water entrained with circulating oxygen gas from the outlet of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Metering Gas Strut for Separating Rocket Stages

A proposed gas strut system would separate a liquid-fueled second rocket stage from a solid-fueled first stage using an array of pre-charged struts. The strut would be a piston-and-cylinder mechanism containing a compressed gas. Adiabatic expansion of the gas would drive the extension of the strut....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Counterflowing Jet Subsystem Design

A counterflowing jet design (a spacecraft and trans-atmospheric subsystem) employs centrally located, supersonic cold gas jets on the face of the vehicle, ejecting into the oncoming free stream. Depending on the supersonic free-stream conditions and the ejected mass flow rate of the counterflowing jets, the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Piezoelectric Macro-Mass Balance

Mass balances usually use a strain gauge that requires an impedance measurement and is susceptible to noise and thermal drift. A piezoelectric balance can be used to measure mass directly by...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Water Tank With Capillary Air/Liquid Separation

A bladderless water tank (see figure) has been developed that contains capillary devices that allow it to be filled and emptied, as needed, in microgravity. When filled with water, the tank...

Briefs: Software
Excavator Design Validation

The Excavator Design Validation tool verifies excavator designs by automatically generating control systems and modeling their performance in an accurate simulation of their expected environment. Part of this software design includes interfacing with human operations that can be included in simulation-based studies...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sprag Handle Wrenches

Sprag handle wrenches have been proposed for general applications in which conventional pawl-and-ratchet wrenches and sprag and cam “clickless” wrenches are now used. Sprag handle wrenches are so named because they...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Inline Electrical Connector Mate/Demate Pliers

Military and aerospace industries use Mil-Spec type electrical connections on bulkhead panels that require inline access for mate and demate operations. These connectors are usually in tight...

A specially configured seal system (see figure) has been developed and produced that provides a barrier to gas leakage between a pressurized module and its external...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Locking Nut With Stress-Distributing Insert

An improved locking nut comprises (1) an internally threaded shell, partly resembling a conventional nut, that can be engaged by a wrench or other tool, and (2) an internally and externally threaded insert that engages the threads of the shell and a bolt. Whereas some prior locking nuts are plated over...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Adaptable Holders for Arc-Jet Screening Candidate Thermal Protection System Repair Materials

Reusable holders have been devised for evaluating high-temperature, plasma-resistant re-entry materials, especially fabrics. Typical material samples tested support thermal-protection-system damage repair requiring evaluation prior to re-entry into...

Recent experiments with a flextensional piezoelectric actuator have led to the development of a sampler with a bit that is designed to produce and capture a full set of sample...

A proposed direct-current electromagnetic pump for circulating a molten alkali metal alloy would be smaller and lighter and would demand less input power, relative to currently...

There is a need for effective sample handling tools to deliver and sort particles for analytical instruments that are planned for use in future NASA missions....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Durable Tactile Glove for Human or Robot Hand

A glove containing force sensors has been built as a prototype of tactile sensor arrays to be worn on human hands and anthropomorphic robot hands. Whereas the force sensors of a prior force-sensing glove are mounted on the outside, the force sensors of this glove are mounted inside, in protective...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated Desalting Apparatus

Because salt and metals can mask the signature of a variety of organic molecules (like amino acids) in any given sample, an automated system to purify complex field samples has been created for the analytical...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Progress in Development of the Axel Rovers

Progress has been made in the development of a family of robotic land vehicles having modular and minimalist design features chosen to impart a combination of robustness, reliability, and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact, Lightweight Servo-Controllable Brakes

Compact, lightweight servo-controllable brakes capable of high torques are being developed for incorporation into robot joints. A brake of this type is based partly on the capstan effect of tension elements, which is described by the well known equation

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Arm Manipulator Using Active Control for Sample Acquisition and Transfer, and Passive Mode for Surface Compliance

A robotic arm that consists of three joints with four degrees of freedom (DOF) has been developed. It can carry an end-effector to acquire and transfer samples by using active control and comply with surface topology in a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dedicated Deployable Aerobraking Structure

A dedicated deployable aerobraking structure concept was developed that significantly increases the effective area of a spacecraft during aerobraking by up to a factor of 5 or more (depending on spacecraft size) without substantially increasing total spacecraft mass. Increasing the effective aerobraking...

News: Transportation
Bio-Based Process for Producing Fuel Additive

A new bio-based method for producing a much-used fuel additive and industrial chemical, which is currently made from petroleum products, has been developed by an Iowa State University researcher.

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
Road Surface Purifies Air by Removing Nitrogen Oxides

Road surfaces can make a big contribution to local air purity. This conclusion can be drawn from the first test results on a road surface of air-purifying concrete, which reduces the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonic/Sonic Rotary-Hammer Drills

Ultrasonic/sonic rotary-hammer drill (USRoHD) is a recent addition to the collection of apparatuses based on ultrasonic/sonic drill corer (USDC). As described below, the USRoHD has several features, not...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lunar Soil Particle Separator

The Lunar Soil Particle Separator (LSPS) beneficiates soil prior to in situ resource utilization (ISRU). It can improve ISRU oxygen yield by boosting the concentration of ilmenite, or other iron-oxide-bearing materials found in lunar soils, which can substantially reduce hydrogen reduction reactor size, as well as...

The planned Mars Science Laboratory mission requires inlet funnels for channeling unconsolidated powdered samples from the sampling and sieving...

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