Mechanical/​Mechatronics

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.

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Planetary Gearbox

GAM (Mount Prospect, IL) offers the SPH inline planetary gearbox with helical gears for dynamic and cyclic applications, as well highspeed and continuous duty applications. It is available in six frame sizes with nominal torque ratings from 15 to 900 Nm. The face width of the gears provides more tooth contact and greater...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Clutches

U.S. Tsubaki Power Transmission, LLC (Wheeling, IL) announced Cam Clutch unidirectional/ mechanical clutches that lock the inner and outer races through the locking action of cams, transmitting torque in one direction of rotation while overrunning in the other. The cams are made of alloy steel, and the races are made of alloy steel with...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bearings

igus (East Providence, RI) offers xiros® ball bearings with ball races made from high-performance polymer iglide® A500. The bearings are maintenance- and lubrication-free, and are designed for temperatures up to 302 °F. They are corrosion-resistant, non-magnetic, washable, chemical-resistant, FDAcompliant, and accommodate 3-20 mm...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electric Cylinder

SMAC (Carlsbad, CA) introduced the CBL50 electric cylinder designed to achieve peak force of 50N at 2 Amp current, and acceleration up to 40G. It features carriage-free design and built-in linear bearings. It is available with a vacuum and spring option for pick-and-place applications. With the optional IP65 and IP67 dustproof...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Stages

Optimal Engineering Systems (Van Nuys, CA) released low-profile XYθ (theta) stages that move in an XY-plane and rotate around the center of the XY-plane. Available in 12 models in two precision grades, the stages have linear travels from ±2 by ±2 mm, up to ±30 by ±30 mm. The stages can rotate around the center of the XY plane up to...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
MEMS Gyroscope with Dual Interferometric Sense Elements

High-performance inertial sensors, such as ring laser gyroscopes or fiber optic gyroscopes, have sufficient performance to enable “dead reckoning” navigation for adequate periods of time. Smaller microelectromechanical system (MEMS) inertial sensors, such as MEMS gyroscopes and MEMS...

NASA Spinoff : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetic Fluids Deliver Better Speaker Sound Quality

NASA Technology

In the early 1960s NASA scientists were trying to work around a major problem for orbiting spacecraft: how to move fuel into an engine without the benefit of gravity. A scientist at Lewis Research Center (now Glenn Research Center) came up with a possible solution,...

Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Coupling

C-Flex Bearing Co. (Frankfort, NY) offers a Super Plastic torsional damping coupling that stabilizes high-precision systems by dampening transient torque variations. The patented design offers high-torque loads with zero backlash for positioning in industries such as medical, packaging, and semiconductor. The standard flexible coupling...

Briefs : Motion Control
Piezoelectric Actuated Inchworm Motor (PAIM)

Conventional piezoelectric materials, such as PZTs, have reasonably high electromechanical coupling over 70%, and excellent performance at room temperature. However, their coupling factor (converting electrical to mechanical energy and vice versa) drops substantially at cryogenic temperatures, as the...

Articles : Transportation
SAE 2015 World Congress Preview

The SAE World Congress, presented by SAE International, assembles the best talent in the automotive industry. Experts, management teams, engineers, and executives gather to collaborate and address current challenges, and seek new opportunities for discovery and exploration. The theme of the 2015 World Congress —...

Products : Propulsion
Servo Drive

Elmo Motion Control (Nashua, NH) offers the NANO Gold Twitter servo drive that delivers up to 4000 Watts of qualitative power, current up to 50A at 100VDC, and up to 15A/200V with advanced servo capabilities and support for EtherCAT or CANopen networking communication. It weighs 18 grams, is less than 13 cm3 in volume, and complies...

News : Aerospace
Sound Waves Detect Aircraft Structural Defects

A system for using sound waves to spot potentially dangerous cracks in pipes, aircraft engines, and nuclear power plants has been developed by a University of Strathclyde researcher. A study found that transmitting different types of sound waves can help to detect structural defects more...

News : Automotive
Rubber Production Techniques Could Improve Tires, Reduce Pollution

People have been making rubber products, from elastic bands to tires, for centuries, but a key step in this process has remained a mystery. Scientists from the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan have described this elusive part of rubber production that could have major...

News : Aerospace
Rover Selfie Shows Key Mars Sites

A sweeping view of the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop on Mars, where NASA's Curiosity rover has been working for five months, surrounds the rover in Curiosity's latest self-portrait. The selfie is assembled from dozens of images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on the rover's robotic arm.

The...

News : Transportation
Video Game Technology Helps Navigate Self-Driving Cars

A new software system developed at the University of Michigan uses video game technology to help solve one of the most daunting hurdles facing self-driving and automated cars: the high cost of the laser scanners they use to determine their location. The technology enables the cars to...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
BeeRotor Robot Equipped with Insect-Like Eye

Biorobotics researchers at the Institut des Sciences du Mouvement (Aix Marseille University) have developed the BeeRotor, a tethered flying robot. The robot adjusts its speed and follows terrain without an accelerometer or the measurement of altitude.

Optic flow sensors, inspired by insect vision,...

Briefs : Communications
Design for Improving the Flatness of Solar Sails

This work describes a discontinuous or segmented mirror whose overall flatness is less dependent on the limited tension that can be supplied by the booms. A solar sail is a large, nominally flat sheet of extremely thin reflectorized film rigidly attached to a spacecraft, enabling propulsion via...

Briefs : Motion Control
Reactionless Drive Tube Sampling Device and Deployment Method

A sampling device and a deployment method were developed that allow collection of a predefined sample volume from up to a predefined depth, precise sampling site selection, and low impact on the deploying spacecraft. This device is accelerated toward the sampled body, penetrates the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nozzle Heat Flux Gauge

This innovation is a tungsten-rhenium gauge that can be placed into an aft exit cone of a rocket motor. It will measure heat flux with time for the full duration of the RSRM (reusable solid rocket motor) nozzle environment with equal response time.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rotary-Hammer Core Sample Acquisition Tool

NASA is developing technologies to enable in situ analysis and sample acquisition from planetary bodies. Missions to these diverse locations require autonomous, highly customizable, reliable tools. A tool capable of core generation, capture, and transfer, and customizable for different missions, would...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cooling Test Samples With a Combined Convective and Conductive System to Rapidly Reach 77 K

In this innovation, a team successfully developed and implemented a combined convective and conductive cooling system that permits rapid cooling. Using a spray system, liquid nitrogen (LN2) was injected into a test article enclosure located in...

Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robust Gimbal System for Small-Payload Manipulation

Spaceborne gimbal systems are typically bulky with large footprints. Such a gimbal system may consist of a forked elevation stage rotating on top of the azimuth motor, and occupy a large volume. Mounting flexibility of such a system may be limited.

Briefs : Aerospace
Evaluation of Rail Gun Technology for Launch Assist of Air-Breathing Rockets

A prototype horizontal electromagnetic rail launcher has been demonstrated along with a corresponding theory. This system builds out of published work in augmented rail guns, but modifies this technology so that the motor can operate for seconds rather than...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Using Harmonics to Control Flutter in Wings with Electrical Motors

As aeronautics engineers develop innovative distributed electric propulsion systems, they face new challenges in ensuring that these innovative aircraft are safe as well as fuel efficient. In particular, these systems involve a large number of electrically driven fan motors...

Briefs : Motion Control
Micropulse Detonation Rocket Engine for Nano-Satellite Propulsion

An efficient propulsion system would use a micropulse detonation rocket engine (–PDRE) for nano-satellite maneuverability in space. Technical objectives are to design, build, and conduct a small detonation tube experiment in order to explore the feasibility of using –PDRE for...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Experimental Testbed for 1-MW Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion Aircraft

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are developing a concept aircraft for testing turbo-electric distributed propulsion (TeDP) experiments. TeDP generally involves providing thrust to an aircraft via wing-mounted ducted electric fans, which consist...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Propellant Loading Visualization Software

Complex pressure systems are utilized during testing in the propulsion branch as well as during the propellant loading stage of a mission. Keeping track of the state of such a system becomes more difficult as the complexity of such a system increases, and when extensive procedures are being followed. A...

News : Electronics & Computers
Aircraft with Hybrid Engine Can Recharge in Flight

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, in association with Boeing, have successfully tested the first aircraft to be powered by a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system, where an electric motor and gas engine work together to drive the propeller. The demonstrator aircraft uses up to...

Briefs : Aerospace
Variable-Sweep-Wing Aircraft Configuration

Efficient aircraft designs are increasingly desired in order to support the continued growth of the air transportation industry. Continued expansion of this vital mode of transportation is threatened due to concerns over ever-increasing emissions, noise, and the demand for fuel. Current airport runway,...

News : Propulsion
Two-Stroke Engine Features Low Consumption and Fewer Emissions
Two-Stroke Engine Features Low Consumption and Fewer Emissions

Researchers have developed a new two-stroke engine notable for its low consumption and low level of pollutant emissions. The engine is the result of Powerful, a European project...

Two-Stroke Engine Features Low Consumption and Fewer Emissions