Conductive Particle Assembly Enables Creation of Two-Dimensional Electronic Circuits

Fabrication of one-dimensional granular and colloidal materials can be used for granular conductors, flexible electronics for wearable devices, and electromagnetic energy transport.

One-dimensional conductive particle assembly holds promise for a variety of practical applications; in particular, for a new generation of electronic devices. Synthesis of such chains with programmable shapes outside a liquid environment has proven difficult.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Electronic equipment, Integrated circuits, Electronic equipment, Integrated circuits, Conductivity

Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene

This method makes graphene for flexible and printable electronics, energy storage, and catalysis.

Engineers have developed a simple method for producing high-quality graphene that can be used in next-generation electronic and energy devices. The method essentially bakes the compound in a microwave oven.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Manufacturing processes, Graphite

3D-Printed Heart-on-a-Chip with Integrated Sensors

This technique paves the way for more complex, customizable devices.

The first entirely 3D-printed organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing has been built by a fully automated digital manufacturing procedure. The 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip can be quickly fabricated and customized, allowing researchers to easily collect reliable data for short-term and longterm studies.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies, Additive manufacturing

Robotic System for 3D-Printing the Basic Structure of an Entire Building

This technology could enable faster, cheaper, more adaptable building construction.

Materials that can be produced by 3D printing include not just plastics, but metal, glass, and even food. A new system called a Digital Construction Platform (DCP) was developed that can 3D-print the basic structure of an entire building. Structures built with the system could be produced faster and less expensively than traditional construction methods allow. A building could also be completely customized to the needs of a particular site and the desires of its maker. Even the internal structure could be modified in new ways; different materials could be incorporated as the process proceeds, and material density could be varied to provide optimum combinations of strength, insulation, or other properties. Ultimately, this approach could enable the design and construction of new kinds of buildings that would not be feasible with traditional building methods.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

Method of Manufacturing Convective Accelerometers

Miniaturization and integration of accelerometers in standard integrated circuit (IC) processes has been the topic of extensive research. In most cases, accelerometer structures involve a solid proof mass that is allowed to move under accelerating conditions. This approach has many disadvantages. One key disadvantage is the difficulty of processing such components in IC technologies inherently unsuited for these components.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

4D Printing of Load-Bearing and Predictable Structures

Moveable and shape-changing components are created using multi-material 3D printers.

Research is being performed in adding a fourth dimension to 3D printers — the dimension of time. This technique, called 4D printing, creates moveable and shape-variable objects, such as flat components, that can be folded into three-dimensional objects at a later point, or even objects that can change their shape as a function of external influences.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

Improved Two-Step Replication Process for Producing Precision Optical Mirrors

Production of precision optical mirrors by replication requires molds or mandrels of the complementary shape. For example, replicating a concave mirror requires a convex mandrel. Convex shapes are difficult to fabricate and test since they do not focus light. Convex mandrels are therefore costly when they are available. Their sizes are limited to 1-2 meters. Two-step or double replication is well known in the art. In the traditional method, a specific polymer resin system with fillers is used to replicate an existing concave mirror (designated as “mother”) to produce a convex intermediate designated as “daughter.” The same material is then used to replicate the daughter, creating a third-generation concave that is designated as “granddaughter.”

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Mirrors, Fabrication, Resins

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) Coating of High-Precision Components Produced by Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is being used as a means of coating various substrate materials with a variety of metallic and ceramic oxides for corrosion and thermal protection. The technology necessary to develop a state-of-the-art, low-cost method of polishing and coating a one-piece combustion device using electro-polishing (EP) and ALD was demonstrated in this work. By combining material components made using Selective Laser Melting (SLM) with the process of EP and the application of uniform thin-film coatings using ALD, a complete, scalable manufacturing process can be developed by which high-precision, complex components can be produced at a fraction of their current cost. SLM technology has shown the potential to reduce production costs by 70% or more for complex propulsion component fabrication compared to traditional manufacturing techniques.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lasers, Lasers, Additive manufacturing, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes

Fabrication of BSA 14-23 Superhydrophobic Sponges as Efficient Oil and Organic Liquid Absorbents

This approach is fast, simple, inexpensive, widely applicable, and scalable.

Oil spills have become an environmental problem due to the growth of offshore oil exploration, production, and transportation. There are several methods that have been used to clean up oil spills such as chemical dispersants, water skimming, and using absorbent materials. Although skimming is the most common method for cleaning large spills, this method is time-consuming, expensive, and poorly separates oil and water. Chemical dispersants can be used to break up oil slicks into droplets that can be easily dissipated in water, but the mixture of oil and dispersants can be toxic and damage marine ecosystems. Thus, the use of oil sorbents can be an effective method to ease oil collection, and sorbents have a high capacity for removing oil from a targeted site.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Environmental technologies, Water reclamation, Fabrication

Suspended Platform Improves Efficiency in Large-Scale Manufacturing

The platform enables access to large, external surfaces with minimum footprint and maximum system rigidity.

The Flying Carpet is a platform of any shape, size, or material that is suspended by a four-point cable system. The platform can serve as a movable scaffolding and worker positioning system that enables workers to maneuver themselves, parts, and tools throughout a large work volume for tasks such as ship repair and aircraft paint removal with up to 20 times improved efficiency over hand-built scaffolding. The Flying Carpet is a cable-supported platform that uses single-axis jog-, velocity-, and force-control modes.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Industrial vehicles and equipment

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