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
Improved Descent-Rate Limiting Mechanism

An improved braking cable-payout mechanism has been developed. Like other such mechanisms, this mechanism can be used as a braking or shock-absorbing device for any of a variety of purposes — for...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Alignment-Insensitive Lower-Cost Telescope Architecture

This architecture features an active wavefront sensing and control scheme along with methods for measuring the relative positions of the primary to aft optics, such as the secondary mirror, and should enable larger and cheaper telescope architectures needed for future applications. This...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Latching Valve

A miniature latching valve has been invented to satisfy a need for an electrically controllable on/off pneumatic valve that is lightweight and compact and remains in the most recently commanded open or closed state...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micro-Resistojet for Small Satellites

An efficient micro- resistojet has been developed with thrust in the millinewton level, with a specific impulse of approximately 250 seconds and power input of 20 watts or less that is useful for applications of up to 1,000 hours of operation or more. The essential feature of this invention is a gas-...

A method denoted wireless acoustic- electric feedthrough (WAEF) has been conceived for transmitting power and/or data signals through walls or other solid objects made of a variety...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Impact Mating System for Docking Spacecraft

A document describes a low-impact mating system suitable for both docking (mating of two free-flying spacecraft) and berthing (in which a robot arm in one spacecraft positions an object for mating with either spacecraft). The low-impact mating system is fully androgynous: it mates with a copy of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployable Wireless Camera Penetrators

A lightweight, low-power camera dart has been designed and tested for context imaging of sampling sites and ground surveys from an aerobot or an orbiting spacecraft in a microgravity environment. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flipperons for Improved Aerodynamic Performance

Lightweight, piezoelectrically actuated bending flight-control surfaces have shown promise as means of actively controlling airflows to improve the performances of transport airplanes. These...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
System Estimates Radius of Curvature of a Segmented Mirror

A system that estimates the global radius of curvature (GRoC) of a segmented telescope mirror has been developed for use as one of the subsystems of a larger system that exerts precise control over the displacements of the mirror segments. This GRoC-estimating system, when integrated...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Attitude and Translation Control of a Solar Sail Vehicle

A report discusses the ability to control the attitude and translation degrees-of-freedom of a solar sail vehicle by changing its center of gravity. A movement of the spacecraft's center of mass causes solar- pressure force to apply a torque to the vehicle. At the compact core of the...

Dr. William Farrell, a scientist with the Lunar Exploration Program at Goddard Space Flight Center, is an expert on the problem of lunar dust and its effects on astronauts and...

Application Briefs: Motion Control
Simulated Models Test Design of Space Shuttles and Rocket Engines
Finite element modeling and analysis
Dynamic Concepts
Huntsville, AL

NASA tasked Dynamic Concepts (DCI) with assessing the structural dynamics of the rollout process, whereby the space shuttle orbiter, external tank,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tactile Robotic Topographical Mapping Without Force or Contact Sensors

A method of topographical mapping of a local solid surface within the range of motion of a robot arm is based on detection of contact between the surface and the end effector (the fixture or tool at the tip of the robot arm). The method was conceived to enable mapping of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonic/Sonic Impacting Penetrators

Ultrasonic/sonic impacting penetrators (USIPs) are recent additions to the series of apparatuses based on ultrasonic/sonic drill corers (USDCs). A USIP enables a rod probe to penetrate packed soil or...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature, Lightweight, One-Time-Opening Valve

The figure depicts the main parts of a prototype miniature, lightweight, one-time- opening valve. Like some other miniature one-time-opening valves reported in previous issues of NASA Tech...

The figure depicts selected aspects of a six-degree-of-freedom (6-DOF) stage for mechanical adjustment of an optical component. The six degrees of freedom are translations along the Cartesian axes...

Cargo Management System Jeremy Connell
Blacksburg, VA

Standard truck beds lack the ability to secure loose items easily. The Cargo Management System...

Products: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Brushless DC Pump

Thomas Products Div. (Sheboygan, WI) has introduced a brushless DC WOB-L(R) air compressor and vacuum pump for medical and other applications requiring a small-size and lightweight pump with variable output. The 250 Series pump measures 4.25 x 4.54 x 3.02 in. and weighs only 1.9 lbs.

Internally Radiating Impulse Structure (IRIS) Engine Corban Tillemann-Dick
Tendix LLC
Denver, CO

The vast majority of internal combustion engines we...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Integrated Force Method for Indeterminate Structures

Two methods of solving indeterminate structural-mechanics problems have been developed as products of research on the theory of strain compatibility. In these methods, stresses are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Conical Bearingless Motor/Generators

Motor/generators based on conical magnetic bearings have been invented as an improved alternative to prior such machines based, variously, on radial and/or axial magnetic bearings. Both the present and...

IS-1200 inertial-optical motion tracker InterSense
Bedford, MA

NASA’s Langley Research Center has awarded...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectric Bolt Breakers and Bolt Fatigue Testers

A proposed family of devices for inducing fatigue in bolts in order to break the bolts would incorporate piezoelectric actuators into resonant fixtures as in ultrasonic/ sonic...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Balanced Flow Meters Without Moving Parts

Balanced flow meters are recent additions to an established class of simple, rugged flow meters that contain no moving parts in contact with flow and are based on measurement of pressure drops across...

A passive porous treatment has been proposed as a means of suppressing noise generated by the airflow around the side edges of partial-span flaps on airplane wings when the flaps are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deflection-Compensating Beam for Use Inside a Cylinder

A design concept for a beam for a specific application permits variations and options for satisfying competing requirements to minimize certain deflections under load and to minimize the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Four-Point-Latching Microactuator

Figure 1 depicts an experimental inchworm- type linear microactuator. This microactuator is a successor to the one described in "MEMS-Based Piezoelectric/ Electrostatic Inchworm Actuator" (NPO- 30672), NASA...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plasmoid Thruster for High Specific-Impulse Propulsion

A report discusses a new multi-turn, multi-lead design for the first generation PT-1 (Plasmoid Thruster) that produces thrust by expelling plasmas with embedded magnetic fields (plasmoids) at high velocities. This thruster is completely electrodeless, capable of using in-situ resources, and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sample Caching Subsystem

A paper describes the Sample Caching Subsystem (SCS), a method for storing planetary core and soil samples in a container that seals the samples away from the environment to protect the integrity of the samples and any organics they might contain. This process places samples in individual sleeves that are sealed within a...

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