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
Stability-Augmentation Devices for Miniature Aircraft

Non-aerodynamic mechanical devices are under consideration as means to augment the stability of miniature autonomous and remotely controlled aircraft. Such aircraft can be used for diverse purposes, including military reconnaissance, radio communications, and safety-related monitoring of wide...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lifting Mechanism for the Mars Explorer Rover

A report discusses the design of a rover lift mechanism (RLM) — a major subsystem of each of the Mars Exploration Rover vehicles, which were landed on Mars in January 2004. The RLM had to satisfy requirements to (1) be foldable as part of an extremely dense packing arrangement and (2) be...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
System Regulates the Water Contents of Fuel-Cell Streams

An assembly of devices provides for both humidification of the reactant gas streams of a fuel cell and removal of the product water (the water generated by operation of the fuel cell). The assembly includes externally-sensing forward-pressure regulators that supply reactant gases (fuel and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The Five-Axis, Three-Magnetic-Bearing Dynamic Spin Rig is an apparatus for vibration testing of turbomachine blades in a vacuum at rotational speeds from 0 to 40,000 rpm. This rig (see...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Program Computes Sound Pressures at Rocket Launches

Launch Vehicle External Sound Pressure is a computer program that predicts the ignition-overpressure and the acoustic pressure on the surfaces and in the vicinity of a rocket and launch pad during launch. The program generates a graphical user interface (GUI) that gathers input data from the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A rugged iris mechanism has been designed to satisfy several special requirements, including a wide aperture in the “open” position, full obscuration in the “closed” position, ability to function in a cryogenic...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A three degree of freedom alignment stage has been designed and built for use in a cryogenic dilatometer that is used to measure thermal strains. The alignment stage enables precise adjustments of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The variable-pressure washer (VPW) is a proposed device that is so named because (1) it would play the role similar to that played by an ordinary washer, except that (2) the clamping pressure applied by it would vary...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A special-purpose desk has been designed to facilitate collaboration by two computer programmers sharing one desktop computer or computer terminal. The impetus for the design is a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A versatile mobile telerobot, denoted the magnetically attached multifunction maintenance rover (MAGMER), has been proposed for use in the inspection and maintenance of the surfaces of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An alternative method of controlled shifting of the center of mass has been proposed as a means of locomotion of a robot that comprises mostly a payload inside a hollow,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

No matter how sophisticated or advanced, electronic components must be attached reliably and securely if they are to deliver optimum performance. Beyond this universal requirement, particular...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An ultrasonic/sonic jackhammer (USJ) is the latest in a series of related devices, the first of which were reported in “Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors” (NPO-20856), NASA Tech Briefs,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The term “vortobots” denotes proposed swimming robots that would have dimensions as small as micrometers or even nanometers and that would move in swarms through fluids by generating and exploiting vortices in a cooperative...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The figures depict two miniature mechanisms actuated by strips made of shape-memory alloy (SMA). A typical SMA is a nickel-titanium alloy known by the trade name “Flexinol” or “Nitinol.” In...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The figure shows parts of a shutter mechanism designed to satisfy a number of requirements specific to its original intended application as a component of an atomic clock to be flown in outer...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Temperature-Controlled Clamping and Releasing Mechanism

A report describes the development of a mechanism that automatically clamps upon warming and releases upon cooling between temperature limits of ~180 K and ~293 K.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fastener Starter

The Fastener Starter is a creative solution to prevent the loss of small fasteners during their installation. This is the only currently available tool that can firmly grip and hold a single screw, bolt, nut, washer, spacer, or any combination of these parts. Other commercially available fastener starters are unable to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Nanoactuators of a proposed type would exploit the forces exerted by electric fields on dielectric materials. As used here, “nanoactuators” includes motors, manipulators, and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two-Step Laser Ranging for Precise Tracking of a Spacecraft

A document proposes a two-step laser ranging technique for precise tracking of a coasting interplanetary spacecraft to determine the degree to which leakage of fuel, solar wind, and/or solar-radiation pressure causes it to deviate from a purely gravitational trajectory.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Synthetic bursae are under development for incorporation into robot joints that are actuated by motor-driven cables in a manner similar to that of arthropod joints actuated by muscle-driven tendons. Like natural...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An electromechanical hand-and-forearm assembly has been developed for incorporation into an anthropomorphic robot that would be used in outer space. The assembly is designed to offer manual dexterity...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Formation Flying of Tethered and Nontethered Spacecraft

A paper discusses the effect of the dynamic interaction taking place within a formation composed of a rigid and a deformable vehicle, and presents the concept of two or more tethered spacecraft flying in formation with one or more separated freeflying spacecraft.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

In situ systems that provide fresh lubricants to ball/race contacts on demand have been developed to prolong the operational lives of ball bearings. These systems were originally...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Software for Secondary-School Learning About Robotics

The ROVer Ranch is an interactive computer program designed to help secondary-school students learn about space-program robotics and related basic scientific concepts by involving the students in simplified design and programming tasks that exercise skills in mathematics and science.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A compact refrigerator designed specifically for cooling a microwave maser low noise amplifier is capable of removing heat at a continuous rate of 180 mW at a temperature of 2.5 K....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improving Control in a Joule-Thomson Refrigerator

A report discusses a modified design of a Joule-Thomson (JT) refrigerator under development to be incorporated into scientific instrumentation aboard a spacecraft.In most other JT refrigerators (including common household refrigerators), the temperature of the evaporator (the cold stage) is kept...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Temperature, High-Load-Capacity Radial Magnetic Bearing

A radial heteropolar magnetic bearing capable of operating at a temperature as high as 1,000 °F (≈540 °C) has been developed. This is a prototype of bearings for use in gas turbine engines operating at temperatures and speeds much higher than can be withstood by lubricated...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Blended Buffet-Load-Alleviation System for Fighter Airplane

The capability of modern fighter airplanes to sustain flight at high angles of attack and/or moderate angles of sideslip often results in immersion of part of such an airplane in unsteady, separated, vortical flow emanating from its forebody or wings. The flows from these surfaces...

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