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.

DOE announced the availability of up to $5.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to increase the use of higher ethanol blends up to E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline) by expanding refueling...

A proposed system in a gondola containing scientific instruments suspended by a balloon over the surface of the Saturn moon Titan would quickly acquire samples of rock or ice from the...

A proposed alternative design for the balloon- borne ground-sampling system described in the immediately preceding article would not rely on free fall to drive a harpoonlike...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Reducing Aerodynamic Drag on Empty Open Cargo Vehicles

Some simple structural modifications have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing aerodynamic drag on vehicles that have empty open cargo bays. The modifications were originally...

The term “rotary percussive autogopher” denotes a proposed addition to a family of apparatuses, based on ultrasonic/sonic drill corers (USDCs), that have been described in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Thermostatic Valves Containing Silicone-Oil Actuators

Flow-splitting and flow-mixing thermally actuated spool valves have been developed for controlling flows of a heat-transfer fluid in a temperature-regulation system aboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover. Valves like these could also be useful in terrestrial temperature-regulation...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
More About Reconfigurable Exploratory Robotic Vehicles

Modular exploratory robotic vehicles that will be able to reconfigure themselves in the field are undergoing development. These vehicles at the initial concept stage were described in...

Application Briefs: Medical
Spiralock Fasteners Safeguard Reliability for Medical Lasers and Implants

Failure is not an option when it comes to medical equipment. From critical or sensitive devices like lasers, MRI scanners, knee joints, and implantable pacemakers to instruments as straightforward as stethoscopes, when life is at stake, medical equipment must be...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
Reinventing the Tuktuk

In large cities across Asia, auto rickshaws (tuktuks) are one of the most important means of transportation. These tuktuks produce considerable CO2 emissions and air pollution, and their drivers are underpaid....

Today, the NASA Innovative Partnerships Program and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation officially announced the Green Flight Challenge. The flight efficiency competition is for...

News: Energy
Creating "Cool" Cars

Operating the air conditioning is the largest auxiliary energy drain on cars. In December 2008, DOE announced a project to study and develop thermoelectric heating and cooling systems. As partners in the project,...

The California Air Resources Board will require new cars sold in California to have windows that reflect or absorb heat-producing rays from the sun. Starting in 2012, windows...

Over 30 French college students have collaborated to design the world’s first solar-powered blimp, Nephelios. One hundred years after the first flight across the English Channel by Louis...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
Turning Trees into Tires

Wood science researchers at Oregon State University have made some surprising findings about the potential of microcrystalline cellulose – a product that can be made easily from almost any type of plant fiber –...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Inherently Ducted Propfans and Bi-Props

The terms “inherently ducted propfan” (IDP) and “inherently ducted bi-prop” (IDBP) denote members of a proposed class of propfan engines that would be quieter and would weigh less than do other...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Small, Lightweight, Collapsible Glove Box

A small, lightweight, collapsible glove box enables its user to perform small experiments and other tasks. Originally intended for use aboard a space shuttle or the International Space Station (ISS),...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Steel Primer Chamber Assemblies for Dual Initiated Pyrovalves

A solution was developed to mitigate the potential risk of ignition failures and burn-through in aluminum primer chamber assemblies on pyrovalves. This was accomplished by changing the assembly material from aluminum to steel, and reconfiguration of flame channels to provide more...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Aerial Deployment and Inflation System for Mars Helium Balloons

A method is examined for safely deploying and inflating helium balloons for missions at Mars. The key for making it possible to deploy balloons that are light enough to be buoyant in the thin, Martian atmosphere is to mitigate the transient forces on the balloon that might tear...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Radial Halbach Magnetic Bearings

Radial Halbach magnetic bearings have been investigated as part of an effort to develop increasingly reliable non-contact bearings for future high-speed rotary machines that may be used in such applications...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Voice Coil Percussive Mechanism Concept for Hammer Drill

A hammer drill design of a voice coil linear actuator, spring, linear bearings, and a hammer head was proposed. The voice coil actuator moves the hammer head to produce impact to the end of the drill bit. The spring is used to store energy on the retraction and to capture the rebound...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Using Drained Spacecraft Propellant Tanks for Habitation

A document proposes that future spacecraft for planetary and space exploration be designed to enable reuse of drained propellant tanks for occupancy by humans. This proposal would enable utilization of volume and mass that would otherwise be unavailable and, in some cases, discarded. Such...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Connecting Node

A paper describes the Octanode, a connecting node that facilitates the integration of multiple docking mechanisms, hatches, windows, and internal and external systems with the use of flat surfaces. The Octanode is a 26-faced Great Rhombicuboctahedron Archimedean solid with six octagon-shaped panels, eight hexagon-shaped panels,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Device for Measuring Low Flow Speed in a Duct

A multiple-throat venturi system has been invented for measuring laminar flow of air or other gas at low speed (1 to 30 cm/s) in a duct while preserving the laminar nature of the flow and keeping...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Autoignition Chamber for Remote Testing of Pyrotechnic Devices

The autoignition chamber (AIC) performs by remotely heating pyrotechnic devices that can fit the inner diameter of the tube furnace. Two methods, a cold start or a hot start, can be used with this device in autoignition testing of pyrotechnics. A cold start means extending a pyro -...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Device Acquires and Retains Rock or Ice Samples

The Rock Baller is a sample acquisition tool that improves sample retention. The basic elements of the Rock Baller are the tool rotation axis, the hub, the two jaws, and the cutting blades, which are located on each of the jaws. The entire device rotates about the tool rotation axis, which is...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pneumatic Haptic Interfaces

Haptic interfaces in the form of arrays of balloonlike pneumatic actuators are being developed to provide tactile feedback from (1) remote-manipulator hands, tools on the tips of robot arms, and other, similar...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cryogenic Feedthrough Test Rig

The cryogenic feedthrough test rig (CFTR) allows testing of instrumentation feedthroughs at liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen temperature and pressure extremes (dangerous process fluid) without actually exposing the feedthrough to a combustible or explosive process fluid. In addition, the helium used (inert gas),...

Dr. Peter Shirron, a senior research scientist with NASA’s Cryogenics and Fluids Group, led the team of researchers credited with...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Radial-Electric-Field Piezoelectric Diaphragm Pumps

In a recently invented class of piezoelectric diaphragm pumps, the electrode patterns on the piezoelectric diaphragms are configured so that the electric fields in the diaphragms have...

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