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

A novel airdata system based on flush-mounted pressure sensors has been developed for the X-33 aerospace vehicle. Denoted the "X-33 flush airdata sensing" (FADS) system, it was...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Program Facilitates Simulation of Flows of Cryogenic Fluids

EASY/ROCETS is a developmental computer program for mathematical modeling and analysis of dynamic flows of cryogenic fluids in a rocket-engine-testing facility. Heretofore, the numerical simulation of such flows has been accomplished by use of computer codes specific to test-equipment...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Updated Program for Computing Stresses in Spur Gears

DANST-PC is version 3.01 of a computer program for analysis of the statics and dynamics of spur-gear systems. ["DANST" signifies "Dynamic Analysis of Spur Gear Transmissions." A previous version was described in "Computing Stresses in Spur Gears," NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 19, No. 12 (December...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Devices are proposed that would sublime solid propellants to generate small thrusts for maneuvering spacecraft with masses of no more than 15 kg. With solids rather than gases in propellant tanks, there would...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The figure illustrates a device that flexes to allow rotation about a single axis through a total range of ±12°. This device was designed to offer the following advantages over commercial flexural pivots:

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Detailed measurements of complex flow fields within the NASA Low Speed Centrifugal Compressor (LSCC) have been acquired. The measurement data provide insight into the fundamental...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Automatic valves have been proposed for shutting off flows of liquids when abnormally large accelerations occur. These valves could be used, for example, to prevent outflows of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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: Motion Control

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

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

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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

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,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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...

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