Mechanical/​Mechatronics

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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

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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: Transportation

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

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

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;...

Articles: Electronics & Computers

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...

Articles: Green Design & Manufacturing

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

NASA Tech Needs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Developing a Commercial Nanoionics Switch for RF Applications

The Antenna and Optical Systems Branch at NASA’s Glenn Research Center is working on many innovations in nanotechnology for use in communications applications. One such emerging field of nanotechnology receiving significant attention for its promising results is nanoionics....

Products: Transportation

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...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing

A new PHEV traction drive power electronics system provides more power than typical freestanding portable generators, and can be used in emergency situations such as power outages and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Assemblies comprising multiple limited-height toroidal inflatable structures nested in a concentric arrangement have been invented to obtain more design flexibility than can be obtained in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Investigating Dynamics of Eccentricity in Turbomachine

A methodology (and hardware and software to implement the methodology) has been developed as a means of investigating coupling between certain rotordynamic and hydrodynamic phenomena in turbomachines. Originally, the methodology was intended for application in an investigation of coupled...

INSIDER: Transportation

Sandia National Laboratories will use $4.2 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to modify and enhance its existing Battery Abuse Testing Laboratory (BATLab), with the...

Articles: Transportation

DOE has prepared a Multi-Year Research, Development, and Demonstration Plan to provide hydrogen as a viable fuel for transportation after 2020, and commissioned Concepts NREC (CN)...

INSIDER: Transportation

Chemical plants spend from 50 to 70 percent of their energy in "separations," which are usually distillation steps required to separate a raw material into various products. An...

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