Ultralight, Scalable, High-Temperature-Resilient Ceramic Nanofiber Sponges

These sponges can be used for flexible insulation and water purification.

Researchers have made ultralight, highly porous, compressible, and heat-resistant sponge-like materials from nanoscale ceramic fibers. The highly deformable material is made by tangling ceramic nanofibers into a sponge. The method used is inexpensive and scalable for making large quantities.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Ceramics, Heat resistant materials, Lightweight materials, Nanomaterials

Water-Based, Recyclable Membrane Filters all Types of Nanoparticles

Separation technology is at the heart of water purification, sewage treatment, and reclaiming materials, as well as numerous basic industrial processes. Membranes are used to separate out the smallest nanoscale particles, and even molecules and metal ions. A new type of membrane was developed that could extend the life of a separation system, lower its cost, and in some cases, increase its efficiency as well.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Particulate matter (PM), Water reclamation, Materials properties, Nanomaterials, Industrial vehicles and equipment

Using Sunlight to Activate the Flow of Electrical Current in a New Material

Modifying the composition of magnetite enables this material to convert sunlight into electrical current.

Mined to make the first compass needles, the mineral magnetite is also made by migratory birds and other animals to allow them to sense north and south, and thus navigate in cloudy or dark atmospheric conditions or under water. Researchers have compositionally modified magnetite to capture visible sunlight and convert this light energy into electrical current. This current may be useful to drive the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen. The team generated this material by replacing one third of the iron atoms with chromium atoms.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Sustainable development, Solar energy, Chromium, Iron, Magnetic materials

New Materials Could Turn Water into Solar Fuel

A process speeds the discovery of commercially viable solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.

Solar fuels are created using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2). Researchers are exploring a range of target fuels, from hydrogen gas to liquid hydrocarbons, but producing any of these fuels involves splitting water.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Carbon dioxide, Sun and solar, Water, Alternative fuels, Research and development, Materials properties

Modified Surface Having Low Adhesion Properties to Mitigate Insect Residue Adhesion

Surface roughness is not affected by the process.

NASA Langley Research Center, in collaboration with ATK Space Systems, has developed a method to reduce insect adhesion on metallic substrates, polymeric materials, engineering plastics, and other surfaces. The method topographically modifies a surface using laser ablation patterning followed by chemical modification of the surface. This innovation was originally developed to enhance aircraft laminar flow by preventing insect residue buildup, but the method provides a permanent solution for any application requiring insect adhesion mitigation as well as adhesion prevention of other typical environmental contaminants.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Finite element analysis, Lasers, Lasers, Finishing, Biomaterials, Chemicals, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes

Microfabricated Particles as MRI Contrast Agents

Potential applications exist in MRIs, drug development, diagnostics, and microfluidics.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become an invaluable, widely used medical diagnostic and research tool, but despite numerous chemically synthesized image-enhancing agents, MRI still lacks the sensitivity and the multiplexing capabilities of optical imaging that benefit from colored fluorophores — multi-spectral quantum dots for multi-functional encoding and biomolecular/cellular labeling.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Magnetic materials, Materials properties, Nanomaterials

Self-Protected, Low-Temperature Nanosolder

The nanosolder is inexpensive and easy to use in an assembly process.

Nanosolders allow for increased capabilities in the formation of soldered interconnections for heat-sensitive electronic packages. The desired characteristic of nanosolder is to have a low process temperature that does not damage base materials or components, while also having a high service temperature that allows the product to operate in harsh environments.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Electronic equipment, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Electronic equipment, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Copper alloys, Materials properties, Nanomaterials

Resistive Heating-Assisted Infiltration and Cure (RHAIC) for Polymer/Carbon Nanotube Structural Composites

This process can be used for airframe components, lightweight construction structures, thermal management, and electromagnetic shielding for cars.

NASA’s Langley Research Center scientists have developed a process for fabricating carbon nanotube (CNT) structural nanocomposites that brings CNT-based composites closer to realizing their potential for structural applications. Conventional methods fail to properly wet CNTs within the epoxy matrix due to high resin viscosity, resulting in poor infiltration and reduced load transfer between the CNTs and matrix. The NASA process — resistive heating-assisted epoxy infiltration (RHAEI) — uses the CNTs’ electrical resistance to generate heat, which reduces epoxy resin viscosity for greater CNT wetting and adhesion. Mechanical properties are significantly improved compared to conventional methods. NASA’s process has been demonstrated to offer 50% improvement in strength and elastic modulus, with mechanical properties competitive with structural carbon fiber composites.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Composite materials, Nanomaterials, Polymers, Resins

Adhesive Strength Enhancement of Shape Memory Polymer Composite and Metal Joint

This technology has applications in adaptive space structures, smart fabrics, intelligent medical devices, morphing structures, and packaging.

NASA Langley Research Center has developed technology to increase the adhesive strength between shape memory polymer composites (SMPs) and metal alloys. Shape memory materials, including SMPs, have been explored for numerous applications because of their unique shape memory capabilities. These materials can change shape and/or other properties in response to changes in an external stimulus such as stress, temperature, or an electric field.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Alloys, Composite materials, Materials properties, Polymers, Smart materials

System for Repairing Cracks in Structures

This thermally activated coating heals cracks in metallic materials.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed an innovative coating to heal cracks in metal components, such as in aircraft and bridges. Currently, the coating is used for in-laboratory repairs of surface cracks. Development continues with the ultimate goal of an in-situ healing mechanism that can work autonomously with structural health monitoring detectors.

Posted in: Briefs, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Aircraft structures, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Fatigue

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