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.

The Spacecraft Autonomous Navigation System using GPS for Earth Orbiters (SANS-GEO) computer program is designed to perform the navigation calculations that will enable the New...

The Multiple Interferometric Ranging Analysis using GPS Ensemble (MIRAGE) computer program processes spacecraft-tracking data to determine orbits of single satellites, or...

A mathematical model that includes layerwise finite elements has been developed for use in numerical simulation of the coupled electrical, mechanical, and thermal responses of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Passive Capture Joint WithThree Degrees of Freedom

A new joint, proposed for use on an attachable debris shield for the International Space Station Service Module, has potential for commercial use in situations where hardware must be...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetostrictive Inertial-Reaction Linear Motors

Linear-translation motors containing inertial-reaction masses driven by magnetostrictive actuator elements are undergoing development. These motors could be used to make fine position...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pulse-tube Refrigerator Unit

Pulse-tube Refrigerators can be operated over a wide range of temperatures. These units can be used in numerous space and commercial refrigeration applications, including food refrigerator/freezers, laboratory freezers, and freeze dryers. Pulse-tube Refrigerators can also be used to cool detectors and electronic...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated PreLaunch Loads Estimation (APLLE)

Over the past year, the Structural Dynamics and Loads Branch of Marshall Space Flight Center has been calculating prelaunch ground winds for several different launch-vehicle configurations....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The Modified Fully Utilized Design Method

The modified fully utilized design (MFUD) method is undergoing development for use by engineers who favor traditional methods of designing structures over methods based on advanced calculus and...

Briefs: Motion Control
Hybrid Propulsion System for Returning a Sample From Mars

A paper suggests the development of a hybrid rocket engine and associated equipment for returning a sample of material from Mars at relatively low cost. In a hybrid rocket engine, a solid fuel is burned by use of a liquid or gaseous oxidizer, the flow of which can be throttled to control...

Equations have been derived to fill a gap in previously published standard collections of stress-and-strain formulas: These are equations for deflection of a thin circular membrane...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployable and Restowable Protective Dome
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Probes for Measuring Pressures in Flowing Gases

Improved pressure probes have been designed to give nearly instantaneous readings of the time-varying local static pressure in flowing gases. The probes have been installed in a wind tunnel...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Bidirectional Operating Actuator (BOA)

A generic actuator has been designed to amplify the piezoelectric effect. The Bidirectional Operating Actuator (BOA) amplifies the stroke of a piezoelectric element and reorients it through a kinematic...

Engineers have designed a new device, called the Smart Washer, that can electromagnetically detect bolthole cracks in metal structures. The device is a metal washer that contains...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rigid, Insulating Support for Cryogenic Component

A structure provides rigid support for a cryogenic component but transmits minimal heat. The structure includes two beams of Invar (or equivalent low-thermal expansion iron/nickel alloy) that...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multichannel Ultrasonic-Bolt-Tension-Gauge System

An improved system for measuring tensions in multiple bolts is based on the usual measurement of the times of propagation of ultrasonic waves along the bolts, but the quantities measured and the method of processing the measurement data differ from those of conventional ultrasonic bolt-tension...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated Calibration of Torque Analyzers Without Weights

An automated apparatus calibrates digital torque analyzers that, in turn, are used to verify the accuracies of torque wrenches. The apparatus is located in a central laboratory, and the digital torque analyzers are brought to the laboratory for calibration. Previously, the torque...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible Actuators for Small, Mobile, Special-Purpose Robots

A report discusses flexible microactuators for a proposed generation of small, mobile, special-purpose robots. Aspects of this topic were discussed in two previous articles in NASA Tech Briefs: "Thin-Film, Light-Energized Bimorph Micromechanical Actuators" (NPO-19607), Vol. 20, No. 8...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gas Buffer Seal

The figure presents a simplified view of a shaft seal that provides a small flow of neutral buffer gas to prevent contact between different gases contained in two adjacent regions along the shaft. In the original application,...

The figure illustrates one of several related pin-puller mechanisms that harness the recovery characteristics of a shape-memory alloy (SMA). Like some other SMA-actuated mechanisms...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Wheel Drive of Mars Rover

A brief report summarizes the design of the lightweight, high-torque wheel drive of a small robotic vehicle used to explore the surface of Mars. Planetary gearing was selected for compactness and high torque capability. The input stages were fitted with ball bearings to survive the cold (down to -100 °C) Martian...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Wind Masts for Meteorological Instruments

Rigid, guyed masts of a proposed type for supporting meteorological instruments would be designed to withstand considerably stronger winds than those conventionally used. The proposed fairings...

A self-contained impact-type damper for a bellows-type face seals suppresses dynamic instability or chatter. In current practice, damping in a typical seal is accomplished through...

Permanent-magnet rotary bearings with ferrofluid stabilization in the axial degree of freedom are undergoing development. These bearings are totally passive, yet stable in all degrees...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Lifetime for Stirling Cryogenic Coolers

A Stirling cooler is a mechanical system that approximates the ideal gas cycle. Often associated with airborne or portable cooling applications that require compact design and low input power,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Increased Life for Steel-Slitter Guide Rolls

There has been some success in continuing efforts to increase the service lifetimes of the guide rolls in hot-roll-slitter machines in the steel industry. In these machines, hardened knives are...

Weightless Environment Training Facility Inertial Training Spheres (WETFITSs) are proposed neutrally buoyant training tools that would be used in NASA's Weightless Environment...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Applying Controlled Pressure Distributions to Complex Curved Surfaces

A technique for applying controlled test pressures to curved surfaces is based on a principle similar to that of a compartmented pilot's or astronaut's pressure suit. The technique involves the use of airbags that accommodate geometric complexity in both the surface under...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Equations for Failure Modes of Mechanical Systems

A report presents information compiled from a search of the literature on failure modes of mechanical systems. The report was written to provide a reference base for the application of first-order reliability methods to mechanical systems in the development of a system-level design methodology....

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