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
Variable Submillimeter-Wave Delay Line for Cryogenic Use

A variable delay line is being developed as part of a far-infrared or submillimeter- wavelength interferometer that would operate in a vacuum in the cryogenic temperature range. No such delay line for spatial interferometry has previously been built for operation under these...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Precise Air Bearings Redesigned

Highly precise air bearings for suspending objects over an epoxy flat floor in a laboratory have been developed. These bearings float on airgaps 3 to 5 mil (about 0.08 to 0.13 mm) thick. They are modern versions of precise air bearings, developed during the 1960s, that offer a working coefficient of friction of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
User’s Guide for ENSAERO

A report summarizes the development, applications, and procedures for use of ENSAERO, a computer program for simulating aeroelastic phenomena (e.g., wing flutter) of aircraft and spacecraft. ENSAERO computes aeroelastic responses by simultaneously numerically integrating Euler and/or Navier-Stokes equations of airflow...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Minimally Actuated Hopping Robot

A small robot that travels by hopping has been built and tested. This is a prototype of hopping robots that would carry video cameras and possibly other sensory devices and that are under consideration for...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mobile Robot With Foveal Machine Vision

The Foveal Extra-Vehicular Activity Helper-Retriever (FEVAHR) is a mobile robot that features a hierarchical foveal machine-vision system (HFMV). The FEVAHR is a prototype of future robots that could detect, recognize, track, and pursue objects and avoid obstacles while operating autonomously, controlled...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rotary Tool and Retractable Foot for Walking Robot

A mechanism has been developed to serve as an end effector for one of the legs of the Legged Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot (LEMUR) — a walking robot designed for demon- strating...

The figure depicts a proposed reconfigurable miniature exploratory robotic vehicle (mini- rover) that would serve as a versatile prototype in the development of exploratory robots...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanism for Docking a Miniature Spacecraft

This report discusses a proposed docking mechanism to be located in a small hangar on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). The mechanism would enable docking of a miniature robotic spacecraft (or free flyer) that would carry a video camera and would operate in the vicinity of the ISS....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Emergency Tether-Deployment-and-Recoil-Mitigating Systems

A report describes an emergency tether-deployment (ETD) system designed to minimize the harm caused by two events that can occur during deployment of tethered payloads from a space shuttle in orbit. One such event is snagging of the tether during payout while the payload is near the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cylindrical Shape-Memory Rotary/Linear Actuator

A compact actuator generates rotary or linear motion with a large torque or force, respectively. The original version of this actuator is designed to pull a wedge that, until pulled, prevents retraction of the proposed extended nose landing gear of the space shuttle. The original version is also...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Formation Alignment of Multiple Autonomous Vehicles

A table-top experiment on formation alignment of three air-levitated robotic vehicles has been performed to demonstrate the feasibility of a more general concept of controlling multiple...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Microfabricated Flow Controllers and Pressure Regulators

Efforts are underway to develop microfabricated flow controllers and pressure regulators that contain as few discrete components as feasible and that are cheaper, more robust, and orders of magnitude smaller than are currently commercially available devices that have similar capabilities....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Synchronizing Attitudes and Maneuvers of Multiple Spacecraft

A report discusses the problem of controlling the maneuvers of multiple spacecraft flying in formation and, more specifically, making the entire formation rotate about a given axis and synchronizing the rotations of the individual spacecraft with the rotation of the formation. Such...

A proposed lightweight, micromachined winch would have microscopic structural details and mesoscopic overall dimensions and would be capable of generating bidirectional macro- scopic...

Hardware and decentralized-control algorithms have been developed during continued research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and functional requirements for systems of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Computational Test Cases for Oscillating Clipped Delta Wing

Computational test cases have been selected from archived sets of data acquired some years ago in wind-tunnel experiments on a clipped delta wing equipped with a hydraulically actuated trailing-edge control surface. In some of the experiments, the wing was subjected to pitching...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Control Derivatives of the F-18 Airplane

Flight data gathered by use of the F-18 System Research Aircraft (SRA) based at Dryden Flight Research Center have been used to estimate stability and control derivatives for a baseline F-18 airplane....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonically Induced Fountains and Fogs

Experiments have demonstrated the feasibility of generating fountains and fogs over a body of water (see Figure 1) by utilizing high-intensity ultrasound to induce acoustic streaming, cavitation, and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fail-Safe, Continue-to-Operate Concept for Jackscrews

A fail-safe, continue-to-operate design concept for machine jackscrews calls for the incorporation of a redundant follower nut that would assume the axial jack load upon failure of the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pulse-Tube Refrigerator for Liquid Hydrogen

An improved closed-loop, two-stage pulse-tube refrigerator provides 4 W of cooling power at a temperature of 15 K. The original intended application of this refrigerator is in preventing boiloff of liquid hydrogen from a propellant tank aboard a spacecraft. The basic refrigerator design can also be...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonic/Sonic Vibrating/Rotating Tool Bits

An easy-to-implement design concept shows promise for improving the performances of impact tool bits used in abrading surfaces, drilling, and coring of rock and rocklike materials. The concept is...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Water-Jet Accelerator for Launching a Spacecraft

A proposed ground- based apparatus would accelerate a spacecraft to speed of about mach 1, thus making it possible to increase the payload and/or reduce the cost of launching the space- craft into orbit. The apparatus would include a track along which the spacecraft would ride on a sled. Hundreds...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Modular, Highly Maintainable, and Flexible Control Software

Model Rocket Engine Software System (MRECS) is a system of control software that was originally intended for use in controlling rocket engines but is also applicable to almost any real-time, closed- loop process-control system — for example, the feedback control system of a robot....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advances in Cooperative Transport by Two Mobile Robots

Special gimbal mechanisms and algorithms that implement decentralized compliant control have been developed for use in research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and...

Briefs: Motion Control
Magnetostrictive Motor and Circuits for Robotic Applications

A magnetostrictive motor and its drive circuit and control system have been designed to be especially suitable for robotic applications in which there are requirements for precise, high-force linear actuators. The motor includes a laminated armature made of the magnetostrictive alloy...

Efforts are underway to develop compact, lightweight electro-mechanical actuators based on electroactive polymers (EAPs). An actuator of this type is denoted an...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanisms for Reliable One-Time Deployment of Panels

Mechanisms denoted restraint/ release/deployment-initiation (RRDI) devices have been invented to enable the rapid, reliable, one-time deployment of panels that have been hinged together...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Apparatus for Friction Stir Welding of Pipes

A proposed apparatus would effect friction stir welding (FSW) along a circumferential path to join two pipes. The apparatus is denoted an “orbital FSW system” because the circumferential motion of the FSW head would be similar to the motions of welding heads in commercial orbital fusion welding...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated System for Fluid and Electrical Connections

The Smart Umbilical Mating System (SUMS) is an automated, three-degreeof- freedom, scalable system for quickly mating, demating, and/or remating ganged umbilicals. SUMS connects electrical and fluid paths between spacecraft and ground support equipment whether liftoff or side mount for NON...

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