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
Tactile Robotic Topographical Mapping Without Force or Contact Sensors

A method of topographical mapping of a local solid surface within the range of motion of a robot arm is based on detection of contact between the surface and the end effector (the fixture or tool at the tip of the robot arm). The method was conceived to enable mapping of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Ultrasonic/sonic impacting penetrators (USIPs) are recent additions to the series of apparatuses based on ultrasonic/sonic drill corers (USDCs). A USIP enables a rod probe to penetrate packed soil or...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The figure depicts the main parts of a prototype miniature, lightweight, one-time- opening valve. Like some other miniature one-time-opening valves reported in previous issues of NASA Tech...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

The figure depicts selected aspects of a six-degree-of-freedom (6-DOF) stage for mechanical adjustment of an optical component. The six degrees of freedom are translations along the Cartesian axes...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Cargo Management System Jeremy Connell
Blacksburg, VA

Standard truck beds lack the ability to secure loose items easily. The Cargo Management System...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless DC Pump

Thomas Products Div. (Sheboygan, WI) has introduced a brushless DC WOB-L(R) air compressor and vacuum pump for medical and other applications requiring a small-size and lightweight pump with variable output. The 250 Series pump measures 4.25 x 4.54 x 3.02 in. and weighs only 1.9 lbs.

Articles: Transportation
Internally Radiating Impulse Structure (IRIS) Engine Corban Tillemann-Dick
Tendix LLC
Denver, CO

The vast majority of internal combustion engines we...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Two methods of solving indeterminate structural-mechanics problems have been developed as products of research on the theory of strain compatibility. In these methods, stresses are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Motor/generators based on conical magnetic bearings have been invented as an improved alternative to prior such machines based, variously, on radial and/or axial magnetic bearings. Both the present and...

Application Briefs: Transportation
IS-1200 inertial-optical motion tracker InterSense
Bedford, MA
781-541-6330
www.intersense.com

NASA’s Langley Research Center has awarded...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A proposed family of devices for inducing fatigue in bolts in order to break the bolts would incorporate piezoelectric actuators into resonant fixtures as in ultrasonic/ sonic...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Balanced flow meters are recent additions to an established class of simple, rugged flow meters that contain no moving parts in contact with flow and are based on measurement of pressure drops across...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A passive porous treatment has been proposed as a means of suppressing noise generated by the airflow around the side edges of partial-span flaps on airplane wings when the flaps are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A design concept for a beam for a specific application permits variations and options for satisfying competing requirements to minimize certain deflections under load and to minimize the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Figure 1 depicts an experimental inchworm- type linear microactuator. This microactuator is a successor to the one described in "MEMS-Based Piezoelectric/ Electrostatic Inchworm Actuator" (NPO- 30672), NASA...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Plasmoid Thruster for High Specific-Impulse Propulsion

A report discusses a new multi-turn, multi-lead design for the first generation PT-1 (Plasmoid Thruster) that produces thrust by expelling plasmas with embedded magnetic fields (plasmoids) at high velocities. This thruster is completely electrodeless, capable of using in-situ resources, and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sample Caching Subsystem

A paper describes the Sample Caching Subsystem (SCS), a method for storing planetary core and soil samples in a container that seals the samples away from the environment to protect the integrity of the samples and any organics they might contain. This process places samples in individual sleeves that are sealed within a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multistage Passive Cooler for Spaceborne Instruments

A document describes a three-stage passive radiative cooler for a cryogenic spectrometer to be launched into a low orbit around the Moon. This cooler is relatively lightweight and compact, and its basic design is scalable and otherwise adaptable to other applications in which there are...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stowable Energy-Absorbing Rocker-Bogie Suspensions

A report discusses the design of the rocker-bogie suspensions of the Mars Exploration Rover vehicles, which were landed on Mars in January 2004. Going beyond the basic requirements regarding mobility on uneven terrain, the design had to satisfy requirements (1) to enable each suspension to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A free-to-roll (FTR) test technique and test rig make it possible to evaluate both the transonic performance and the wing-drop/rock behavior of a high-strength airplane model in a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Phase-oriented gear systems are differential planetary transmissions in which each planet gear has two sets of unequal numbers of teeth indexed at prescribed relative angles (phases). The figure illustrates an...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Adaptive Deadband Synchronization for a Spacecraft Formation

A paper discusses general problems in estimation and control of the states (positions, attitudes, and velocities) of spacecraft flying in formation, then addresses the particular formation-flying-control problem of synchronization of deadbands. The paper presents a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Increasing the Life of a Xenon-Ion Spacecraft Thruster

A short document summarizes the redesign of a xenon-ion spacecraft thruster to increase its operational lifetime beyond a limit heretofore imposed by nonuniform ion-impact erosion of an accelerator electrode grid. A peak in the ion current density on the centerline of the thruster causes...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The CubeSat standard (10 × 10 × 10 cm and weighing 1kg) has evolved into one of the most widely accepted families of picosatellite designs. A CubeSat...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The figure depicts the steep terrain access robot (STAR) — a walking robot that has been proposed for exploring steep terrain on remote planets. Robots based on the STAR concept could also be used on...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Measuring Dynamic Transfer Functions of Cavitating Pumps

A water-flow test facility has been built to enable measurement of dynamic transfer functions (DTFs) of cavitating pumps and of inducers in such pumps. Originally, the facility was intended for use in an investigation of the effects of cavitation in a rocket-engine low-pressure oxygen...

Who's Who: Software

The Inductive Monitoring System (IMS) is a new computer program that monitors gyroscopes that keep the International Space Station properly oriented in space....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Injection of working fluid into a centrifugal compressor in the reverse tangent direction has been invented as a way of preventing flow instabilities (stall and surge) or restoring...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Capacitors Would Help Protect Against Hypervelocity Impacts

A proposal investigates alternatives to the present "bumper" method of protecting spacecraft against impacts of meteoroids and orbital debris. The proposed method is based on a British highvoltage- capacitance technique for protecting armored vehicles against shapedcharge warheads.

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