Skip to section navigationSkip to content

Technology
The Technology Transfer and Partnerships Office
line image
Font Size  increase text sizedecrease text size
Area of Expertise
Mechanical Mechanical Technologies and Devices

NASA’s mechanical technologies improve and streamline product designs. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center’s innovations have focused on specialty fasteners, bolt retraction systems, ultrasonic joining technologies, thermal joint technologies, ball joints, lightweight tanks, and many others.





Licensing and Partnering Opportunities 

Featured Technologies

refinery

Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a device and method for blocking the flow of fluid from an open pipe. Motivated by the sea-bed oil-drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, NASA innovators designed the device to plug, control, and meter the flow of gases and liquids. Anchored with friction fittings, spikes, or explosively activated fasteners, the device is well-suited for harsh environments and high fluid velocities and pressures.

saturn engine

Scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center 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.

MS-based valve

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center offers for license a set of unique magnetostrictive (MS) technologies. By combining MS-based sensors with a newly designed MS-based valve, Marshall has developed an advanced MS regulator. This innovative approach provides both a regulator and a valve with rapid response times. In addition, the components are lightweight, compact, highly precise, and can operate over a wide range of temperatures and pressures.

composite tank

Innovators at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed several new designs and methods of fabrication for composite and composite over-wrapped tank vessels that help significantly improve their structural integrity against impact, abrasion, harsh environments, and fire. Several embodiments of this technology portfolio also enable production of composite tanks capable of transporting liquefied natural gas or other cryogenic liquids. These innovations are applicable to important aerospace needs, including propulsion systems as well as new and growing fields such as natural gas transportation.

camera

This technology suite, developed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, includes a Single Coil Absolute Position Sensor (SCAPS) with Inductive Gap Sensor (GapSyn) and three associated technologies that can be incorporated into the primary technology to perform additional sensor functions and serve as a short-range antenna and close proximity transmitter and receiver. Applications for these technologies span a broad range of industries, and they can be combined to perform a variety of functions.

composite tanks

Innovators at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed several new designs and fabrication methods for composite tank vessels that help make them ideal containers for cryogenic fluids such as liquid methane and liquid hydrogen. Marshall’s innovations also offer improvements in structural integrity, enhancing protection against impact, harsh environments, and fire. Several embodiments of this technology enable production of composite tanks that are suitable for transporting and storing liquid natural gas and other cryogenic liquids. These methods are applicable to important aerospace needs, such as propulsion systems, as well as to new and growing fields such as natural gas transportation.

rocket
Bolt Retractor System
[MFS-31905-1]

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) has developed a bolt retraction system for spacecraft separation systems. This technology offers a low-cost approach to designing bolt retraction systems of varying sizes. It incorporates off-the-shelf components, minimizing costs and time involved in the streamlined design process. In addition, this technology allows for fast bolt retraction, low mass, low debris, and minimized bolt spring-back. This technology can be used to create customized bolt retractor systems for a number of applications where rapid, reliable detachment of large components is required.

auto assembly

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) has developed a unique captive fastener device that withstands the rigors of space travel. The technology combines a National Aerospace Standard (NAS) 1351/1352 screw and a NASA-approved spring, with a specially designed housing attached to one of the components to be joined. Together, these components provide a captive feature that holds the fastener clear of the interface plane when the fastener is not engaged. NASA is seeking partner companies to commercialize this novel fastener for a variety of applications.

satellite

NASA scientists have discovered a method for generating thrust from two dimensional asymmetrical capacitor modules.

The results are potentially greater efficiencies and improved reliability over currently available electric thrusters.

linear signal

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed innovative resolver signal-conditioning technologies that provide rotational position information over a full 360 degrees. Furthermore, an electrical circuit conditions the output so that the shaft angle position is represented by a linear analog signal. The features of NASA’s new technologies offer several advantages over standard resolver signal-conditioning circuits. In addition, these circuits can be used in many commercial applications.

gasket assembly

NASA offers companies the opportunity to license or jointly develop innovative thermal joint technologies that combine the benefits of, and improve upon, bolted and welded joints.

Developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), these low-cost technologies use a thermal element to seal, bond, braze, and/or weld static joints. Joints fabricated with these technologies can be permanently assembled with minimal process variability, may optionally be disassembled for service, and do not degrade over time.

quick-connect ball joint

NASA offers companies a ball joint design that enables reliable and convenient one-step locking.

Developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), this joint employs a unique spring-loaded mechanism that automatically secures a ball hitch upon insertion into a coupler. This eliminates the need for the locking lever found in most conventional ball joints. Connections made using MSFC’s quick-connect joint are easier, safer, and more reliable than those made using conventional ball joints.

brushless DC motor rate sensor

Developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, this new brushless motor technology offers a promising alternative to brush tachometers, resolvers, encoders, and other rotation sensors. This direction-sensitive, reliable, low-cost device is ideal for numerous commercial applications.

offshore oil rig

The Fluid Structure Coupling technology developed at Marshall Space Flight Center is a purely passive method that disrupts and/or controls coupling between fluids and structures. The technology has demonstrated the potential to mitigate a multitude of different types of vibration issues and can be applied anywhere internal or external fluids interact with physical structures.

› Contact us about these technologies


Additional Technologies

Title Description/Abstract
Optimized Length-to-Diameter Ratio Flow Meter + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary
Simplifying Installation of Avionics and Electronics with Box Rail Mount System + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary
Measuring Liquid Metal Flow Rates with an Optical Hotspot Conductive Sensor + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary
High Load Fully Retained Dynamic Cryogenic Seal + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary
A Smart Volume Instrument for Measuring Gas Volume Contents within a Container + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary
ElectroMechanically Actuated Propellant Valve Controls Fluid Flow + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary
Evaluating Single Ball Bearings and Lubricants in Oscillating Rotary Motion + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary
Increasing Efficiency with Asymmetrical Low-Profile Bulkheads + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary
Applying Equal Clamping Force Using a Variable Pressure Washer + Go to full description
+ Show/Hide Summary

+ Contact us about these technologies

>> Return to Top

 Success & Recognition 

SUCCESS STORIES

AWARDS

>> Return to Top

 Recent Activities and Articles 

NASA TECH BRIEFS

2009

2008

+ Show/Hide 2008 Articles

 

>> Return to Top

 Spinoffs  [link opens new browser window]

>> Return to Top



NASA Insignia