UpFront

Editor's Choice: January 2017

The Convective Heating Improvement for Emergency Fire Shelters (CHIEFS) material can improve the performance of emergency fire shelters for wildland firefighters. The material is based on technology developed for planetary exploration mission heat shields. Fire shelters are the last resort for firefighters trapped by wildfires that block their escape routes. The CHIEFS system can withstand temperatures to 3000 °F. Click here to find out more.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace, Energy Harvesting, Materials
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NASA Tests New Jet Engine Design

NASA is helping the aircraft industry increase fuel efficiency with a new engine design. In its 8 × 6-foot wind tunnel, Glenn Research Center engineers are testing a new fan and inlet design, called a propulsor, that could increase fuel efficiency by four to eight percent more than the advanced engine designs airlines are beginning to use.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace
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New Stamping Technique Enables Printable Electronics

The carbon nanotube stamp can print electronic inks onto rigid and flexible surfaces. (Sanha Kim and Dhanushkodi Mariappan)

The next time you place your coffee order, imagine slapping onto your to-go cup a sticker that acts as an electronic decal, letting you know the precise temperature of your coffee. Engineers at MIT have invented a fast, precise printing process that may make such electronic surfaces an inexpensive reality. The stamp is made from forests of carbon nanotubes and can print electronic inks onto rigid and flexible surfaces. The stamping process should be able to print transistors small enough to control individual pixels in high-resolution displays and touchscreens. It could also offer a relatively cheap, fast way to manufacture electronic surfaces for as-yet-unknown applications.

Posted in: UpFront, Electronics
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Editor's Choice: December 2016

Aerofoam composite insulation combines a polymer foam with a unique inorganic filler in a way that maximizes thermal performance while maintaining mechanical performance, chemical resistance, fire resistance, and acoustic insulation capabilities. Applications include construction, consumer appliances, transportation, electronics, healthcare, industrial equipment, and applications in harsh environments. To find out more, click here.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace
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Magnets From a 3D Printer

Manufacturing strong magnets isn’t a problem; however, it is difficult to produce a permanent magnet with a magnetic field of a specific pre-determined shape. Now, thanks to a new solution devised at the Technical University in Vienna (TU Wien), permanent magnets can be produced in complex forms and customized magnetic fields using a 3D printer.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace
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Full-Color Bendable E-Paper

Less than a micrometer thin, flexible, and providing all the colors of a regular LED display, a new bendable electronic paper uses ten times less energy than a Kindle tablet. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, working on placing conductive polymers on nanostructures, discovered that the combination would be perfectly suited to creating electronic displays as thin as paper.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace
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Editor’s Choice: November 2016

A handheld laser torch for welding and brazing metals enables in-field repairs where space and time are constrained. The fiber laser torch incorporates changing lenses to allow the operator to adjust the laser’s power output in real time. Applications include engine repair, medical device manufacturing, plastic mold and die restoration, and jewelry manufacturing and repair. Find out more here.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace, Recycling Technologies, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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NASA Names 2016 Software of the Year

NASA announced the winners of the Software of the Year awards for 2016: Langley Research Center and Ames Research Center.

TAP cockpit-based software helps pilots determine the most efficient flight paths to their destinations while en-route.

Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) was developed by NASA Langley and Engility Corp. of Billerica, MA. TAP is cockpit-based software that helps pilots determine the most efficient flight paths to their destinations while they are en-route and flying among other aircraft in the airspace. The application then allows them to make traffic aware strategic aircrew requests (TASAR) to ask air traffic controllers for a route change.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace, Software
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Editor’s Choice: October 2016

Understanding the characteristics of a weather system is vital to predicting the path and severity of storms such as hurricanes and typhoons. The surface air pressure over the ocean is one of the key characteristics used in making those predictions. A new technology addresses gaps in the area of weather forecasting as a result of the inability to accurately detect atmospheric pressure above the ocean. Find out more HERE.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace
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Breaking Barriers in 3D Printing

Recently, I had the opportunity to see next-generation manufacturing technologies in use that truly demonstrate “a significant leap forward,” as Ilan Levin, CEO of Stratasys stated. On display for the first time to the public at last month’s IMTS show in Chicago, the Stratasys Robotic Composite 3D Demonstrator and Infinite-Build 3D Demonstrator present a customer-centric approach to 3D printing and additive manufacturing.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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