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
Larger-Stroke Piezoelectrically Actuated Microvalve

A proposed normally-closed microvalve would contain a piezoelectric bending actuator instead of a piezoelectric linear actuator like that of the microvalve described in the preceding...

Designers of deep submersibles are reluctant to use conventional shafts and seals to penetrate the hulls of deep submersible, pressure vessels fearing seal...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Safer Roadside Crash Walls Would Limit Deceleration

The figure depicts the aspects of a proposed deceleration-limiting design for crash walls at the sides of racetracks and highways. The proposal is intended to overcome the dis- advantages...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Quasi-Sun-Pointing of Spacecraft Using Radiation Pressure

A report proposes a method of utilizing solar-radiation pressure to keep the axis of rotation of a small spin-stabilized spacecraft pointed approximately (typically, within an angle of 10° to 20°) toward the Sun. Axisymmetry is not required. Simple tilted planar vanes would be attached...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cable-Dispensing Cart

A versatile cable- dispensing cart can support as many as a few dozen reels of cable, wire, and/or rope. The cart can be adjusted to accommodate reels of various diameters and widths, and can be expanded, contracted, or otherwise reconfigured by use of easily installable and removable parts that can be carried onboard....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Device for Locking a Control Knob
A simple, effective, easy-to-use device locks a control knob in a set position. In the initial application for which this device was conceived, the control knob to be locked is that of a needle valve. Previously, in that application, it was necessary for one technician to hold the knob to keep the valve at the...
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Prolonging Microgravity on Parabolic Airplane Flights

Three techniques have been proposed to prolong the intervals of time available for microgravity experiments aboard airplanes flown along parabolic trajectories. Typically, a pilot strives...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact, Pneumatically Actuated Filter Shuttle

A compact, pneu- matically actuated filter shuttle has been invented to enable alternating imaging of a wind-tunnel model in two different spectral bands characteristic of the pressure and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Continuous Tuning and Calibration of Vibratory Gyroscopes

A method of control and operation of an inertial reference unit (IRU) based on vibratory gyroscopes provides for continuously repeated cycles of tuning and calibration. The method is intended especially for application to an IRU containing vibratory gyroscopes that are integral parts of...

The Morrison rotor, named after its inventor, is a hybrid rotor for use in a bearingless switched-reluctance electric motor. The motor is characterized as bearingless in the sense that it does...

An improved method of calibrating a wind-tunnel force balance involves the use of a unique load application system integrated with formal experimental design methodology. The...

The figure depicts a micromachined silicon vibratory gyroscope that senses rotation about its z axis. The rotation-sensitive vibratory element is a post oriented (when at equilibrium)...

A modified design and fabrication sequence has been devised to improve the performance of a cloverleaf vibratory microgyroscope that includes an axial rod or post rigidly attached to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonic/Sonic Mechanisms for Drilling and Coring

Two apparatuses now under development are intended to perform a variety of deep-drilling, coring, and sensing functions for subsurface exploration of rock and soil. These are modified...

Engineers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center have received a patent on an emergency flight-control method implemented by a propulsion-controlled aircraft (PCA) system. Utilizing...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Neutral-Axis Springs for Thin-Wall Integral Boom Hinges

A document proposes the use of neutral-axis springs to augment the unfolding torques of hinges that are integral parts of thin-wall composite-material booms used to deploy scientific instruments from spacecraft. A spring according to the proposal would most likely be made of metal and could...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shields for Enhanced Protection Against High-Speed Debris

A report describes improvements over the conventional Whipple shield (two thin, spaced aluminum walls) for protecting spacecraft against high-speed impacts of orbiting debris. The debris in question arise mainly from breakup of older spacecraft. The improved shields include exterior...

A device that enables the automated cutting and transfer of plant shoots is undergoing development for use in the propagation of plants in a nursery or laboratory. At present, it is...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Extension of Liouville Formalism to Postinstability Dynamics

A mathematical formalism has been developed for predicting the postinstability motions of a dynamic system governed by a system of nonlinear equations and subject to initial conditions. Previously, there was no general method for prediction and mathematical modeling of postinstability...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Deployable Spring-Strip Booms

Booms and other structures consisting mainly of thin spring strips are undergoing development. These structures are designed to be lightweight, to be compactly stowable, and to be capable of springing to...

Energy savings is one of the key ingredients in reducing costs for any manufacturing operation. A simple, but very effective, way to save energy is by making fans run more...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Analysis of Designs of Space Laboratories

A report presents a review of the development of laboratories in outer space, starting from the pioneering Skylab and Salyut stations of the United States and the former Soviet Union and progressing through current and anticipated future developments. The report includes textual discussions of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Brush-Wheel Samplers for Planetary Exploration

A report proposes brush-wheel mechanisms for acquiring samples of soils from remote planets. In simplest terms, such a mechanism would contain brush wheels that would be counter-rotated at relatively high speed. The mechanism would be lowered to the ground from a spacecraft or other exploratory...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Energy Absorbers for Blast Containers

Kinetic-energy- absorbing liners made of aluminum foam have been developed to replace solid lead liners in blast containers on the aft skirt of the solid rocket booster of the space shuttle....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Small, Untethered, Mobile Robots for Inspecting Gas Pipes

Small, untethered mobile robots denoted gas-pipe explorers (GPEXs) have been proposed for inspecting the interiors of pipes used in the local distribution natural gas. The United States has network of gas- distribution pipes with a total length of approximately 109 m. These...

A computational study has shown that by injecting drops in jets of gas having square, elliptical, triangular, or other noncircular injection cross sections, it should be possible to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Probe Without Moving Parts Measures Flow Angle

The measurement of local flow angle is critical in many fluid-dynamic applications, including the aerodynamic flight testing of new aircraft and flight systems. Flight researchers at NASA Dryden...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Bio-Inspired Engineering of Exploration Systems

The multidisciplinary concept of " b ioinspired e ngineering of e xploration s ystems" (BEES) is described, which is a guiding principle of the continuing effort to develop biomorphic...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectrically Actuated Shutter for High Vacuum

A piezoelectrically actuated shutter is undergoing development for use in experiments on laser cooling of atoms. The shutter is required to be compatible with ultrahigh vacuum [pressure of...

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