Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Trends in Hydraulic Filtration

Proper filtration plays an important role in ensuring that hydraulic systems operate trouble-free. High-performance filters maintain the cleanliness of the hydraulic fluid over its entire service life. In addition, designers are faced with ever-changing application requirements — longer filter change intervals, higher operating safety, increased separation efficiencies, and increased compatibility with the new generation of hydraulic oils. Following is an overview of some important technologies and trends in the industry, and their impact on users of hydraulic systems.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Fluid Handling, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Motion Control
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Modular Fixturing for Assembly and Welding Applications

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed new modular fixtures for holding metal in place during the assembly and welding of cylindrical and conical sections of rocket bodies. Previous methods required time-consuming design, fabrication, and assembly of expensive, project-specific fixtures, which often required up to six months of lead time and cost millions of dollars to complete. NASA’s modular fixtures are designed to be adjustable and to easily form different fixture body configurations for rocket sections with various diameters and heights. This improved setup efficiency allows for a more rapid shift from one project to the next, reducing the time a newly designed fixture body takes to complete, allowing welding to begin in a matter of weeks rather than months. NASA is currently seeking licensees that may benefit from modular fixtures in large-scale manufacturing.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Low-Cost, Long-Lasting Valve Seal

This technology is designed to protect against leaks in solenoid, check, manual, and relief valves, as well as disconnects and regulators.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a new, simplified method for installing valve seats that eliminates the need for a swaged assembly process, and the additional hardware and equipment that are typically found in conventional elastomeric valve seat installations. In addition to weight reduction, the fewer hardware components reduces the number of potential failure modes. This technique saves time and installation costs, and results in comparable leakage protection by minimizing acute stress in the seal material.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Non-Collinear Valve Actuation System

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center scientists have invented a novel valve actuator where the primary actuating system and return spring system are arranged non-collinearly. In the past, valve actuators have employed pressureactuated piston and return spring systems with a linear arrangement that requires bulky return springs.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Novel Vent Design Features Variable Flow Control and Rain Protection

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center scientists have designed a vent that can be useful for purging closed compartments, while preventing backflow and foreign object entry. The technology uses a system of configurable devices to provide variable flow control and prevent water, insects, or undesired gases from entering a vented space. The technology is effective even in high winds, while conventional rocket vent systems that use mesh screening, flapper valves, and high-flow-rate purge gas to protect sensitive equipment are not completely effective in extreme weather conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Novel Design of an Orifice Control Element

An orifice element is commonly used in liquid rocket engine test facilities either as a flow metering device, a damper for acoustic resonance, or to provide a large reduction in pressure over a very small distance in the piping system. The orifice as a device is largely effective in stepping down pressure; however, it is also susceptible to a wake-vortex instability that generates pressure fluctuations that propagate downstream and interact with other elements of the test facility, resulting in structural vibrations. Exacerbating the situation in cryogenic test facilities is the possibility of the formation of vapor clouds when the pressure in the wake falls below the vapor pressure, leading to cavitation. Cavitation has the potential for highamplitude fluctuations that can cause catastrophic damage to a facility.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Electrochemically Enhanced Mechanical Polishing of Optics

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center astrophysicists are developing better instruments to measure high-energy X-rays zipping about space when viewed from above the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists at MSFC adapted a novel method for material removal and super-polishing to the mandrel fabrication of an advanced X-ray telescope.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Lower-Chatter Friction Pull Plug Welding (FPPW)

Friction Pull Plug Welding (FPPW) is the process necessary to plug the hole that is left behind as a friction stir weld (FSW) joint is completed and the pin tool of the welder retracts from the joint. FPPW involves a small, rotating part (plug) being spun and simultaneously pulled (forged) into a hole in a larger part. When the plug enters the hole, there is often chatter, and sometimes the machine stalls completely. NASA discovered that by optimizing the design of the pull plug, including angling the shoulder edge of the plug precisely, it makes contact with the hole in such a way that the chatter issue is improved. NASA has made the new design as an adaptation to make FPPW more practical and robust. The new plug has been used to make space-qualified parts at NASA, and the plug welds are as strong as initial welds.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Short Review of Basic, General-purpose Adjustment Mechanisms for Alignment and Leveling

A web search for words “leveling” and/or “alignment” usually brings the searcher to materials discussing methods of verification of alignment or leveling with various types of tools starting with simple, but very precise mechanical indicators, and finishing with sophisticated laser measurement systems. In this white paper, we will concentrate rather on rarely discussed adjustment mechanisms, trying to assess, and rate their quality, simplicity of use, value for money and effectiveness.

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Posted in: White Papers, Mechanical Components, Motion Control, Automation
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Selecting the Right Tapered Roller Bearing for Your Application

Tapered roller bearings are widely used throughout the North American market as an economical solution for friction management in machine design. While there are many standard catalog bearings available in the marketplace, demanding applications often require engineered solutions in order to optimize machine performance and minimize downtime.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars, Automotive, Mechanical Components
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