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

The figure depicts a proposed reconfigurable miniature exploratory robotic vehicle (mini- rover) that would serve as a versatile prototype in the development of exploratory robots...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mechanism for Docking a Miniature Spacecraft

This report discusses a proposed docking mechanism to be located in a small hangar on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). The mechanism would enable docking of a miniature robotic spacecraft (or free flyer) that would carry a video camera and would operate in the vicinity of the ISS....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Emergency Tether-Deployment-and-Recoil-Mitigating Systems

A report describes an emergency tether-deployment (ETD) system designed to minimize the harm caused by two events that can occur during deployment of tethered payloads from a space shuttle in orbit. One such event is snagging of the tether during payout while the payload is near the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cylindrical Shape-Memory Rotary/Linear Actuator

A compact actuator generates rotary or linear motion with a large torque or force, respectively. The original version of this actuator is designed to pull a wedge that, until pulled, prevents retraction of the proposed extended nose landing gear of the space shuttle. The original version is also...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A table-top experiment on formation alignment of three air-levitated robotic vehicles has been performed to demonstrate the feasibility of a more general concept of controlling multiple...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Microfabricated Flow Controllers and Pressure Regulators

Efforts are underway to develop microfabricated flow controllers and pressure regulators that contain as few discrete components as feasible and that are cheaper, more robust, and orders of magnitude smaller than are currently commercially available devices that have similar capabilities....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Synchronizing Attitudes and Maneuvers of Multiple Spacecraft

A report discusses the problem of controlling the maneuvers of multiple spacecraft flying in formation and, more specifically, making the entire formation rotate about a given axis and synchronizing the rotations of the individual spacecraft with the rotation of the formation. Such...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A proposed lightweight, micromachined winch would have microscopic structural details and mesoscopic overall dimensions and would be capable of generating bidirectional macro- scopic...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Hardware and decentralized-control algorithms have been developed during continued research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and functional requirements for systems of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Computational Test Cases for Oscillating Clipped Delta Wing

Computational test cases have been selected from archived sets of data acquired some years ago in wind-tunnel experiments on a clipped delta wing equipped with a hydraulically actuated trailing-edge control surface. In some of the experiments, the wing was subjected to pitching...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Flight data gathered by use of the F-18 System Research Aircraft (SRA) based at Dryden Flight Research Center have been used to estimate stability and control derivatives for a baseline F-18 airplane....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Experiments have demonstrated the feasibility of generating fountains and fogs over a body of water (see Figure 1) by utilizing high-intensity ultrasound to induce acoustic streaming, cavitation, and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A fail-safe, continue-to-operate design concept for machine jackscrews calls for the incorporation of a redundant follower nut that would assume the axial jack load upon failure of the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pulse-Tube Refrigerator for Liquid Hydrogen

An improved closed-loop, two-stage pulse-tube refrigerator provides 4 W of cooling power at a temperature of 15 K. The original intended application of this refrigerator is in preventing boiloff of liquid hydrogen from a propellant tank aboard a spacecraft. The basic refrigerator design can also be...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An easy-to-implement design concept shows promise for improving the performances of impact tool bits used in abrading surfaces, drilling, and coring of rock and rocklike materials. The concept is...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Water-Jet Accelerator for Launching a Spacecraft

A proposed ground- based apparatus would accelerate a spacecraft to speed of about mach 1, thus making it possible to increase the payload and/or reduce the cost of launching the space- craft into orbit. The apparatus would include a track along which the spacecraft would ride on a sled. Hundreds...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Modular, Highly Maintainable, and Flexible Control Software

Model Rocket Engine Software System (MRECS) is a system of control software that was originally intended for use in controlling rocket engines but is also applicable to almost any real-time, closed- loop process-control system — for example, the feedback control system of a robot....

Briefs: Motion Control

Special gimbal mechanisms and algorithms that implement decentralized compliant control have been developed for use in research on the sensors, the actuators, and the design and...

Briefs: Motion Control
Magnetostrictive Motor and Circuits for Robotic Applications

A magnetostrictive motor and its drive circuit and control system have been designed to be especially suitable for robotic applications in which there are requirements for precise, high-force linear actuators. The motor includes a laminated armature made of the magnetostrictive alloy...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Efforts are underway to develop compact, lightweight electro-mechanical actuators based on electroactive polymers (EAPs). An actuator of this type is denoted an...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Mechanisms denoted restraint/ release/deployment-initiation (RRDI) devices have been invented to enable the rapid, reliable, one-time deployment of panels that have been hinged together...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Apparatus for Friction Stir Welding of Pipes

A proposed apparatus would effect friction stir welding (FSW) along a circumferential path to join two pipes. The apparatus is denoted an “orbital FSW system” because the circumferential motion of the FSW head would be similar to the motions of welding heads in commercial orbital fusion welding...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated System for Fluid and Electrical Connections

The Smart Umbilical Mating System (SUMS) is an automated, three-degreeof- freedom, scalable system for quickly mating, demating, and/or remating ganged umbilicals. SUMS connects electrical and fluid paths between spacecraft and ground support equipment whether liftoff or side mount for NON...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Sonic-Boom Tests of Model of a Supersonic Business Jet Plane

A report discusses wind-tunnel tests of a scale model of a con- ceptual two-engine jet airplane designed to carry 10 passengers, have a range of 4,000 miles (≈6,400 km), cruise at a mach number of 2.0, and generate a low sonic boom [char- acterized by a shock overpressure of ≤ 0.5...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Optimization of Synthetic Jet Actuators

A report presents a study oriented toward optimization of synthetic jet actuators. [A syn- thetic jet actuator is a fluidic control device that partly resembles a loudspeaker. It typically comprises a piezo- electric actuator/ diaphragm situated in a cavity, facing an orifice or nozzle at the opposite end...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Hexfoil rotary flexures have been proposed as pivots suitable for use in precise optical instruments. In the application that inspired the hexfoil concept, there is a requirement for a limited-rotation mirror gimbal...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improvements in the Use of Water Washes in Testing for NVR

Some improvements have been made to enhance the role of water as a test solvent for determining the amount of hydrocarbon nonvolatile residue (NVR) present on an item of hardware that is required to be totally or nearly devoid of such residue. Water is now used as an NVR-testing solvent...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Some airfoil designs have been shown by theory and small-scale tests to be capable of passively maintaining laminar flow at super -sonic speeds. More recently, flight tests have proven that these...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A compact spring-loading design has been proposed to increase the reliability of seals in the joints of vacuum cryogenic systems. Heretofore, such joints have been, variously, compact...

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