Rapid Fabrication of Carbide Matrix/Carbon Fiber Composites

Melt infiltration offers advantages over chemical vapor infiltration.

Composites of zirconium carbide matrix material reinforced with carbon fibers can be fabricated relatively rapidly in a process that includes a melt infiltration step. Heretofore, these and other ceramic matrix composites have been made in a chemical vapor infiltration (CVI) process that takes months. The finished products of the CVI process are highly porous and cannot withstand temperatures above 3,000 °F (≈1,600 °C). In contrast, the melt-infiltration-based process takes only a few days, and the composite products are more nearly fully dense and have withstood temperatures as high as 4,350 °F (≈2,400 °C) in a highly oxidizing thrust chamber environment. Moreover, because the meltinfiltration- based process takes much less time, the finished products are expected to cost much less.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Fabrication, Composite materials

Ultrahigh-Temperature Ceramics

Materials are being developed to withstand temperatures above 1,650 °C.

Figure 1. Examples of UHTC Components areshown that have been tested in the NASA AmesArc Jet facility to evaluate the materialsresponse in a simulated reentry environment.The cone and wedge models are representativeof the scale and geometries anticipated for useon UHTC sharp leading-edge vehicles.Ultrahigh temperature ceramics (UHTCs) are a class of materials that include the diborides of metals such as hafnium and zirconium. The materials are of interest to NASA for their potential utility as sharp leading edges for hypersonic vehicles. Such an application requires that the materials be capable of operating at temperatures, often in excess of 2,000 °C. UHTCs are highly refractory and have high thermal conductivity, an advantage for this application. UHTCs are potentially applicable for other high- temperature processing applications, such as crucibles for molten-metal processing and high-temperature electrodes.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Ceramics, Heat resistant materials, Hypersonic and supersonic aircraft, Industrial vehicles and equipment

Improved C/SiC Ceramic Composites Made Using PIP

These materials are expected to remain strong for longer times at high temperatures.

Improved carbon-fiber- reinforced SiC ceramic-matrix composite (C/SiC CMC) materials, suitable for fabrication of thick-section structural components, are producible by use of a combination of raw materials and processing conditions different from such combinations used in the prior art. In comparison with prior C/SiC CMC materials, these materials have more nearly uniform density, less porosity, and greater strength. The majority of raw-material/processing-condition combinations used in the prior art involve the use of chemical vapor infiltration (CVI) for densifying the matrix.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Ceramics, Composite materials, Polymers

Coating Carbon Fibers With Platinum

Uniform coats are produced relatively inexpensively.

A process for coating carbon fibers with platinum has been developed. The process may also be adaptable to coating carbon fibers with other noble and refractory metals, including rhenium and iridium. The coated carbon fibers would be used as ingredients of matrix/fiber composite materials that would resist oxidation at high temperatures. The metal coats would contribute to oxidation resistance by keeping atmospheric oxygen away from fibers when cracks form in the matrices.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Fibers, Metals

Nanorod-Based Fast-Response Pressure-Sensitive Paints

Improved, nanostructured coatings could be used to measure rapid pressure fluctuations.

A proposed program of research and development would be devoted to exploitation of nanomaterials in pressuresensitive paints (PSPs), which are used on wind-tunnel models for mapping surface pressures associated with flow fields. Heretofore, some success has been achieved in measuring steady-state pressures by use of PSPs, but success in measuring temporally varying pressures has been elusive because of the inherent slowness of the optical responses of these materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Materials properties, Nanomaterials

Photocatalytic/Magnetic Composite Particles

Magnetic agitation enhances effectiveness.

Photocatalytic/ magnetic composite particles have been invented as improved means of exploiting established methods of photocatalysis for removal of chemical and biological pollutants from air and water. The photocatalytic components of the composite particles are formulated for high levels of photocatalytic activity, while the magnetic components make it possible to control the movements of the particles through the application of magnetic fields. The combination of photocatalytic and magnetic properties can be exploited in designing improved air- and water-treatment reactors.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Air pollution, Catalysts, Water pollution, Composite materials, Magnetic materials

Norbornene-Based Polymer Electrolytes for Lithium Cells

These solid electrolytes are single-ion conductors.

Norbornene-based polymers have shown promise as solid electrolytes for lithium-based rechargeable electrochemical cells. These polymers are characterized as single-ion conductors.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Battery cell chemistry, Lithium-ion batteries, Polymers

Making Single-Source Precursors of Ternary Semiconductors

Commercially available reagents are used in a simplified synthesis.

&A synthesis route has been developed for the commercial manufacture of single- source precursors of chalcopyrite semiconductor absorber layers of thin-film solar photovoltaic cells. The semiconductors in question are denoted by the general formula CuInxGa1–xSySe2–y, where 0≤x≤1 and 0≤y≤1.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Semiconductors

Water-Free Proton-Conducting Membranes for Fuel Cells

Fuel cells could be operated at higher temperatures for greater efficiency.

Poly-4 -vinylpyridinebisulfate (P4VPBS) is a polymeric salt that has shown promise as a water-free proton-conducting material (solid electrolyte) suitable for use in membrane/electrode assemblies in fuel cells. Heretofore, proton-conducting membranes in fuel cells have been made from perfluorinated ionomers that cannot conduct protons in the absence of water and, consequently, cannot function at temperatures >100 °C. In addition, the stability of perfluorinated ionomers at temperatures >100 °C is questionable. However, the performances of fuel cells of the power systems of which they are parts could be improved if operating temperatures could be raised above 140 °C. What is needed to make this possible is a solidelectrolyte material, such as P4VPBS, that can be cast into membranes and that both retains proton conductivity and remains stable in the desired higher operating temperature range.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Fuel cells, Conductivity, Electrolytes, Polymers

Removing Bioactive Contaminants by Use of Atomic Oxygen

Bioactive contaminants are removed without using liquid chemical baths or high temperatures.

A method of removing endotoxins and other biologically active organic compounds from the surfaces of solid objects is based on exposure of the objects to monatomic oxygen generated in oxygen plasmas. The mon- atomic oxygen reacts strongly and preferentially with the organic contaminants to form volatile chemical species. The method was developed especially for removing such contaminants as lipopolysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and other biologically active contaminants from surfaces of orthopedic implants prior to sterilization and implantation; if not removed, these con- taminants can contribute to inflammation that sometimes necessitates the surgical removal of the implants.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials

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