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
Hybrid Heat Exchangers

A hybrid light-weight heat exchanger concept has been developed that uses high-conductivity carbon-carbon (C–C) composites as the heat-transfer fins and uses conventional high-temperature metals, such as Inconel, nickel, and titanium as the parting sheets to meet leakage and structural requirements.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Orbital Winch for High-Strength, Space-Survivable Tethers

An Orbital Winch mechanism enables high-load, multi-line tethers to be deployed and retracted without rotating the spool on which the tether is wound. To minimize damage to the tether and the wound package during retraction or deployment under load, it can incorporate a Tension Management...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Steerable Hopping Six-Legged Robot

The figure depicts selected aspects of a six-legged robot that moves by hopping and that can be steered in the sense that it can be launched into a hop in a controllable direction. This is a prototype of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Launchable and Retrievable Tetherobot

A proposed robotic system for scientific exploration of rough terrain would include a stationary or infrequently moving larger base robot, to which would be tethered a smaller hopping robot of the type...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Instrument for Analysis of Greenland’s Glacier Mills

A new instrument is used to study the inner workings of Greenland’s glacier mills by riding the currents inside a glacier’s moulin. The West Greenland Moulin Explorer instrument was deployed into a tubular shaft to autonomously record temperature, pressure, 3D acceleration, and location....

A system is proposed for packaging material samples on a remote planet (especially Mars) in sealed sample tubes in preparation for later return to Earth. The sample tubes (Figure 1)...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Offset Compound Gear Drive

The Offset Compound Gear Drive is an in-line, discrete, two-speed device utilizing a special offset compound gear that has both an internal tooth configuration on the input end and external tooth configuration on the output end, thus allowing it to mesh in series, simultaneously, with both a smaller external tooth...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Simple Check Valves for Microfluidic Devices

A simple design concept for check valves has been adopted for microfluidic devices that consist mostly of (1) deformable fluorocarbon polymer membranes sandwiched between (2) borosilicate float...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Dead-Volume Inlet for Vacuum Chamber

Gas introduction from near-ambient pressures to high vacuum traditionally is accomplished either by multi-stage differential pumping that allows for very rapid response, or by a capillary method that allows for a simple, single-stage introduction, but which often has a delayed response. Another means to...

The invention, a static phase separator (SPS), uses airflow and capillary wetting characteristics to passively separate a two-phase (liquid and air) flow. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Heat Pipes Made From Magnesium

Magnesium has shown promise as a lighter-weight alternative to the aluminum alloys now used to make the main structural components of axially grooved heat pipes that contain ammonia as the working fluid. Magnesium heat-pipe structures can be fabricated by conventional processes that include extrusion,...

This elemental space radiator heat pipe is designed to operate in the 700 to 875 K temperature range. It consists of a C–C (carbon-carbon) shell made from poly-acrylonitride...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ceramic Rail-Race Ball Bearings

Non-lubricated ball bearings featuring rail races have been proposed for use in mechanisms that are required to function in the presence of mineral dust particles in very low-pressure, dry environments with...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gimballing Spacecraft Thruster

A gimballing spacecraft reaction-control-system thruster was developed that consists of a small hydrogen/oxygen-burning rocket engine integrated with a Canfield joint. (Named after its inventor, a Canfield joint is a special gimbal mount that is strong and stable yet allows a wide range of motion.) One especially...

News: Electronics & Computers
Paving the Way for Electromobility

Fraunhofer researchers are engineering wheel hub motors, which are integrated into a car's wheels, and could become the accepted drive concept for electric vehicles. The scientists are testing these...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Quick-Response Thermal Actuator for Use as a Heat Switch

This work improves the performance of a heat switch, or a thermal actuator, by delivering heat to the actuator in a more efficient manner. The method uses a heat pipe as the plunger or plug instead of just using a solid piece of metal. The heat pipe could be one tailored for fast transient...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robotic Arm Comprising Two Bending Segments

The figure shows several aspects of an experimental robotic manipulator that includes a housing from which protrudes a tendril- or tentacle-like arm 1 cm thick and 1 m long. The arm consists of two...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Foil Gas Thrust Bearings for High-Speed Turbomachinery

A methodology has been developed for the design and construction of simple foil thrust bearings intended for parametric performance testing and low marginal costs, supporting continued development of oil-free turbomachinery. A bearing backing plate is first machined and surface-ground to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Friction, Low-Profile, High-Moment Two-Axis Joint

The two-axis joint is a mechanical device that provides two-degrees-of-freedom motion between connected components. A compact, moment-resistant, twoaxis joint is used to connect an electromechanical actuator to its driven structural members. Due to the requirements of the overall mechanism,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Multi-Axis Mechanism for Hand Controllers

A hand controller provides up to three axes of motion, and all required feel characteristics (stiffness and breakout torques) located inside a hollow handle within the grip of the hand. This is achieved using a miniature gimbal mechanism that allows for independent motion about one, two, or...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetostrictive Brake

A magnetostrictive brake has been designed as a more energy-efficient alternative to a magnetic fail-safe brake in a robot. (In the specific application, “fail-safe” signifies that the brake is normally engaged;...

With auto sales down as much as 40 percent, it can feel to some like the industry is coming apart. But a "revolution in fasteners" may soon help bridge the gap to greener...

Industry and consumers are increasingly aware of the benefits of efficacious use of metered power, as costs and cost trends increase. Making the right choices...

Long tool bits are undergoing development that can be stowed compactly until used as rock- or ground-penetrating probes actuated by ultrasonic/sonic mechanisms. These bits are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact Rare Earth Emitter Hollow Cathode

A compact, high-current, hollow cathode utilizing a lanthanum hexaboride (LaB6) thermionic electron emitter has been developed for use with high-power Hall thrusters and ion thrusters....

This innovation has been developed to improve the resolutions of future spacebased active and passive microwave antennas for earth-science remote...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rapid Active Sampling Package

A field-deployable, battery-powered Rapid Active Sampling Package (RASP), originally designed for sampling strong materials during lunar and planetary missions, shows strong utility for terrestrial geological use. The technology is proving to be simple and effective for sampling and processing materials of strength....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Lightweight Ion Pump

This design offers a larger surface area for pumping of active gases and reduces the mass of the pump by eliminating the additional vacuum enclosure. There are three main components to this ion pump: the cathode and anode pumping elements assembly, the vacuum enclosure (made completely of titanium and used as the...

Products: Transportation
Large Cell Ultracapacitors

Maxwell Technologies Inc. (San Diego, CA) has introduced its new K2 series large cell BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors. About the size of a soda can, the K2 series BOOSTCAP cells operate at 2.7 volts and incorporate design...

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