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.

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Just a few years ago, the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in most aerospace companies was restricted to pure research or troubleshooting problems with existing designs. But in the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An apparatus is being developed for sampling water for signs of microbial life in an ocean hydrothermal vent at a depth of as much as 6.5 km. Heretofore, evidence of microbial life in deep-sea hydrothermal...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mars Rocket Propulsion System

A report discusses the methane and carbon monoxide/LOX (McLOx) rocket for ascent from Mars as well as other critical space propulsion tasks. The system offers a specific impulse over 370 s — roughly 50 s higher than existing space-storable bio- propellants. Current Mars in-situ propellant production (ISPP)...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two-Stage Passive Vibration Isolator

The design and testing of a structural system were implemented to hold the optics of the planned Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) at positions and orientations characterized by vibrational translation and rotation errors of no more than a few nanometers or a few milliarcseconds, respectively. Much of the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Thermal Design of a Compression Mold

A compression tool used to make 1-in. (2.5-cm) diameter disks of high-temperature polymers was designed to be shorter and of larger diameter than conventional tools to reduce heat loss to the surrounding air, thus making more efficient use of applied heat. This system is less sensitive to the amount...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Enhanced Pseudo-Waypoint Guidance for Spacecraft Maneuvers

An enhanced version of the scheme reported in “Pseudo-Waypoint Guidance for Proximity Spacecraft Maneuvers” (NPO-42753), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 31, No. 6 (June 2007), page 73 was developed. To recapitulate: the scheme provides algorithms for guidance and control (G&C) of a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A proposed tool would be used to inspect alignments of mating twinaxial-connector assemblies on interconnecting wiring harnesses. More specifically, the tool would be used to inspect the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
An ATP System for Deep-Space Optical Communication

An acquisition, tracking, and pointing (ATP) system is proposed for aiming an optical- communications downlink laser beam from deep space. In providing for a direction reference, the concept exploits the mature technology of star trackers to eliminate the need for a costly and potentially...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Polar Traverse Rover Instrument

A Polar Traverse Rover (PTR) is a device designed to determine the role of Antarctica in the global climate system by determining typical paths of continental air that passes the South Pole, and by obtaining insight into the relationship between events at the Antarctic and the meteorology of sub- polar altitudes....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Simple, easy-to-use, highly effective tooling has been devised for maintaining alignment of bolt holes in mating structures during assembly and disassembly of the structures. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The figure presents a cross-sectional view of a supercharged, variable-compression, two-cycle, internal-combustion engine that offers significant advantages over prior such engines. The improvements...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible Structural-Health-Monitoring Sheets

A generic design for a type of flexible structural- health- monitoring sheet with multiple sensor/actuator types and a method of manufacturing such sheets has been developed. A sheet of this type contains an array of sensing and/or actuation elements, associated wires, and any other associated circuit...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

The design, fabrication, and microgravity flight-testing are part of a continuing development of palm-sized mobile robots that resemble spiders (except that they have six legs apiece, whereas a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advanced Active-Magnetic-Bearing Thrust-Measurement System

An advanced thrust-measurement system utilizes active magnetic bearings to both (1) levitate a floating frame in all six degrees of freedom and (2) measure the levitation forces between the floating frame and a grounded frame. This system was developed for original use in measuring the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Thermally actuated hydraulic pumps have been proposed for diverse applications in which direct electrical or mechanical actuation is undesirable and the relative slowness of thermal actuation can be...

Books & Reports: Materials
Lightweight Carbon-Carbon High-Temperature Space Radiator

A document summarizes the development of a carbon-carbon composite radiator for dissipating waste heat from a spacecraft nuclear reactor. The radiator is to be bonded to metal heat pipes and to operate in conjunction with them at a temperature approximately between 500 and 1,000 K. A goal...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dynamic Method For Identifying Collected Sample Mass

G-Sample is designed for sample collection missions to identify the presence and quantity of sample material gathered by spacecraft equipped with end effectors. The software method uses a maximum-likelihood estimator to identify the collected sample's mass based on onboard force-sensor...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The balanced-piston relief valve with side vented reaction cavity has been proposed as an improved alternative to a conventional high- pressure, high-flow relief valve. As explained...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Using Composite Materials in a Cryogenic Pump

Several modifications have been made to the design and operation of an extended-shaft cryogenic pump to increase the efficiency of pumping. In general, the efficiency of pumping a cryogenic fluid is limited by thermal losses (the thermal energy that the pump adds to the fluid). The sources of the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Safety Modification of Cam-and-Groove Hose Coupling

A modification has been made in the mating halves of a cam-and- groove hose coupling to prevent rapid separation of the halves in the event that the cam levers are released while the fluid in the hose is pressurized. This modification can be duplicated on almost any commercially available...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
FIDO-Class Development Rover

A report describes a rover-type robotic wheeled vehicle recently built for use as a testbed for development of software for future rover-type vehicles. This vehicle is a derivative of the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover, which is a prototype Mars- exploration rover that also serves as a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A variable-structure control system designed to enable a fuselage-heavy airplane to recover from spin has been demonstrated in a hand-launched, instrumented model glider airplane (see...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Axial Halbach magnetic bearings have been investigated as part of an effort to develop increasingly reliable noncontact bearings for future high-speed rotary machines that may be used in such applications as...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Tool bits that automatically collect powdered rock, permafrost, or other hard material generated in repeated hammering action have been invented. These tool bits are intended primarily for use as...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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-...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

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