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
Miniature Inchworm Actuators Fabricated by Use of LIGA
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Linear Back-Drive Differentials

Linear back-drive differentials have been proposed as alternatives to conventional gear differentials for applications in which there is only limited rotational motion (e.g., oscillation). The finite nature...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Gas-Turbine Power Generator

A proposed microelectromechanical system (MEMS) containing a closed- Brayton-cycle turbine would serve as a prototype of electric- power generators for special applications in which high energy densities are required and in which, heretofore, batteries have been used. The system would have a volume of about...

Pneumatically actuated miniature peristaltic vacuum pumps have been proposed for incorporation into advanced miniature versions of scientific instruments that depend on vacuum for...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Soft Landing of Spacecraft on Energy-Absorbing Self-Deployable Cushions

A report proposes the use of cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) foam structures to cushion impacts of small (1 to 50 kg) exploratory spacecraft on remote planets. Airbags, which are used on larger (800 to 1,000 kg) spacecraft have been found to (1) be too complex for...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Energy-Absorbing, Lightweight Wheels

Improved energy- absorbing wheels are under development for use on special-purpose vehicles that must traverse rough terrain under conditions (e.g., extreme cold) in which rubber pneumatic tires would...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Viscoelastic Vibration Dampers for Turbomachine Blades

Simple viscoelastic dampers have been invented for use on the root attachments of turbomachine blades. These dampers suppress bending- and torsion-mode blade vibrations, which are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Optimization of Orientations of Spacecraft Reaction Wheels

A report presents a method of optimizing the orientations of three reaction wheels used to regulate the angular momentum of a spacecraft. The method yields an orientation matrix that minimizes mass, torque, and power demand of the reaction wheels while maximizing the allowable duration...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Three-Degree-of-Freedom Parallel Mechanical Linkage

Figure 1 depicts a mechanical linkage that converts rotational motion about three base joints (A, B, and C) to translational motion of an end effector (D) in three dimensions. The linkage...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexure Rings for Centering Lenses

Specially shaped mounting rings keep lenses precisely centered, regardless of temperature, in the lens housings of cameras and other optical systems. These rings feature (1) well-defined contact spots for...

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mesoscopic Winch for Precise Extension and Retraction

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...

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