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Process for Rapid Prototyping in Ceramic-Matrix Composites

Precursors of continuous-fiber-reinforced CMCs are deposited in patterned layers. The ceramic-composite advanced tow- placement (CCATP) process is a means of laying down continuous-fiber-reinforced, ceramic-matrix composite (CMC) materials in patterned layers to form objects that could have complex three-dimensional shapes. The CCATP process is a member of the growing family of solid-freeform processes in art of rapid prototyping.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Growing Carbon Nanotubes Aligned With Patterns

Positions and orientations of individual nanotubes could be tailored. A process has been proposed for growing carbon nanotubes aligned substantially parallel with the nominal planar surfaces of substrates and further aligned with patterns on the substrates. Prior to growth, the patterns would be formed by micromachining the substrates, which could be silicon or siliconon- insulator (SOI) wafers. By making it possible to tailor the positions and orientations of individual carbon nanotubes grown on pre-patterned substrates, this process would enable advances in nanotube-based electronic and electromechanical devices.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Use of Nanofibers to Strengthen Hydrogels of Silica, Other Oxides, and Aerogels

Research has shown that including up to 5 percent w/w carbon nanofibers in a silica backbone of polymer crosslinked aerogels improves its strength, tripling compressive modulus and increasing tensile stress-at-break fivefold with no increase in density or decrease in porosity. In addition, the initial silica hydrogels, which are produced as a first step in manufacturing the aerogels, can be quite fragile and difficult to handle before cross-linking. The addition of the carbon nanofiber also improves the strength of the initial hydrogels before cross-linking, improving the manufacturing process. This can also be extended to other oxide aerogels, such as alumina or aluminosilicates, and other nanofiber types, such as silicon carbide.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Two Concepts for Deployable Trusses

Thermal-actuation and misalignment-tolerant double-pivot designs are proposed.Two concepts that could be applied separately or together have been suggested to enhance the utility of deployable truss structures. The concepts were intended originally for application to a truss structure to be folded for compact stowage during transport and subsequently deployed in outer space. The concepts may also be applicable, with some limitations, to deployable truss structures designed to be used on Earth.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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External Adhesive Pressure-Wall Patch

A hole in a pressure wall can be patched, without need for previously installed faste A mechanical device has been developed for applying an adhesive patch, from the outside, to the wall of a spacecraft module that has lost pressure because of penetration by a meteoroid or a piece of orbital debris. This device will make it possible to seal and re-pressurize the affected module during space flight. Devices identical or similar to this one might also prove useful in the repair of other pressurized bodies and similar objects, including gas and oil pipes and ship hulls, for example.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Glass Cure Plates for Fabricating Flat Composite Panels

Costs are lower than those of aluminum cure plates. Glass plates are used as cure plates in a modified process for the fabrication of flat composite-material (matrix/fiber) panels. In the unmodified previous version of the process the cure plates were made of aluminum.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Writing Circuit Patterns by Use of Scanning UV Lasers

Prototype circuits can be fabricated rapidly. Scanning ultraviolet (UV) lasers would be used to expose ultraviolet-sensitive photoresists to form patterns of conductors for electronic circuits, according to a proposal. Heretofore, such patterns have been formed by exposing photoresists to collimated ultraviolet or visible light through contact or proximity photomasks. The use of scanning lasers would make it unnecessary to make or use masks, and it would be amenable to rapid fabrication of prototype circuits.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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