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

It has been proposed to incorporate piezoelectric vibrational actuators into the structural supports of solar photovoltaic panels, for the purpose of occasionally inducing vibrations in the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Strain-Gauge Measurement of Weight of Fluid in a Tank

A method of determining the amount of fluid in a tank is based on measurement of strains induced in tank supports by the weight of the fluid. Unlike most prior methods, this method is nonintrusive: there is no need to insert instrumentation in the tank and, hence, no need to run wires,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An advanced docking system is undergoing development to enable softer, safer docking than was possible when using prior docking systems. This system is intended for original use in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Columnar-vortex generators (CVG) have been proposed as means to increase the safety of takeoffs and landings of aircraft on aircraft or helicopter carriers and other ships at sea....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Robotic Spacecraft for Inspecting Other Spacecraft

A report discusses the Miniature Autonomous Extravehicular Robotic Camera (Mini AERCam) — a compact robotic spacecraft intended to be released from a larger spacecraft for exterior visual inspection of the larger spacecraft. The Mini AERCam is a successor to the AERCam Sprint...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An experimental miniature peristaltic pump exploits piezoelectrically excited flexural waves that travel around a ring: A fluid is carried in the containers formed in the valleys between the peaks of the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A cylindrical-punch indentation technique has been developed as a means of measuring the nonlinear elastic responses of materials - more specifically, for measuring the moduli of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

NASA's Strategic Plan for the Aerospace Technology Enterprise includes ambitious objectives focused on affordable air travel, reduced emissions, and expanded aviation-system capacity. NASA Dryden Flight Research...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Intelligent fasteners with embedded microprocessors remotely controlled by wireless tools or a data network can advance the speed, flexibility, flow, and cost...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Provisions for specification of hazards faced by a robotic vehicle (rover) equipped with a rocker-bogie suspension, for prediction of collisions between the vehicle and the hazards,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Wavy-planform rotor blades for helicopters have been investigated for the first time in an effort to reduce noise. Two of the main sources of helicopter noise are blade/vortex interaction (BVI)...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Expandable Purge Chambers Would Protect Cryogenic Fittings

Expandable ice-prevention and cleanliness-preservation (EIP-CP) chambers have been proposed to prevent the accumulation of ice or airborne particles on quick-disconnect (QD) fittings, or on ducts or tubes that contain cryogenic fluids. In the original application for which the EIP-CP...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Miniature blimps are under development as robots for use in exploring the thick, cold, nitrogen atmosphere of Saturn's moon, Titan. Similar blimps can also be used for surveillance...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Automotive Engine Using Ethanol-Burning Miller Cycle

A proposed hybrid (internal-combustion/ electric) automotive engine system would include as its internal-combustion subsystem, a modified Miller-cycle engine with regenerative air preheating and with autoignition like that of a Diesel engine. The fuel would be ethanol and would be...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The figure presents selected views of a modular rake of 17 pitot probes for measuring both transient and steady-state pressures in a supersonic wind tunnel. In addition to pitot tubes visible in the figure, the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Spacecraft Orbits for Earth/Mars-Lander Radio Relay

A report discusses a network of spacecraft, in orbit around Mars, used to relay radio communications between Earth stations and mobile exploratory robots (rovers) as well as stationary scientific instruments that have been landed on the Mars surface. The relay spacecraft include two already in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

As part of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from TACOM (Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command) - a division of the U.S. Army -Adiabatics used multiphysics...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Inflatable/Self-Rigidizable Reflectarray Antenna

A report describes recent progress in a continuing effort to develop large reflectarray antennas to be deployed in space. Major underlying concepts were reported in two prior NASA Tech Briefs articles: "Inflatable Reflectarray Antennas" (NPO-20433), Vol. 23, No. 10 (October 1999), page 50 and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A control valve that can throttle high-pressure cryogenic fluid embodies several design features that distinguish it over conventional valves designed for...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The flight-test community routinely spends considerable time and money to determine a range of flight conditions, called a flight envelope, within which an aircraft is safe to fly. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The Aerostructures Test Wing (ATW) was an apparatus used in a flight experiment during a program of research on aeroelastic instabilities. The ATW experiment was performed to study a specific instability known as...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Modifications have been proposed to effect further improvement of the device described in “Improved Piezo- electrically Actuated Microvalve” (NPO-30158), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A proposed normally-closed microvalve would contain a piezoelectric bending actuator instead of a piezoelectric linear actuator like that of the microvalve described in the preceding...

Briefs: Motion Control

Designers of deep submersibles are reluctant to use conventional shafts and seals to penetrate the hulls of deep submersible, pressure vessels fearing seal...

Briefs: Motion Control

The figure depicts the aspects of a proposed deceleration-limiting design for crash walls at the sides of racetracks and highways. The proposal is intended to overcome the dis- advantages...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Quasi-Sun-Pointing of Spacecraft Using Radiation Pressure

A report proposes a method of utilizing solar-radiation pressure to keep the axis of rotation of a small spin-stabilized spacecraft pointed approximately (typically, within an angle of 10° to 20°) toward the Sun. Axisymmetry is not required. Simple tilted planar vanes would be attached...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cable-Dispensing Cart

A versatile cable- dispensing cart can support as many as a few dozen reels of cable, wire, and/or rope. The cart can be adjusted to accommodate reels of various diameters and widths, and can be expanded, contracted, or otherwise reconfigured by use of easily installable and removable parts that can be carried onboard....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Device for Locking a Control Knob
A simple, effective, easy-to-use device locks a control knob in a set position. In the initial application for which this device was conceived, the control knob to be locked is that of a needle valve. Previously, in that application, it was necessary for one technician to hold the knob to keep the valve at the...

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