Manufacturing & Prototyping

Robotic Drones to 'Print' Emergency Shelters

Researchers from the University of Bath, Imperial College, and University College London have developed robotic drones designed to "print" emergency shelters. The flying robots will autonomously assess and manufacture building structures to help areas suffering from natural disasters.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling

The Fourth Revolution in Manufacturing

The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is all about going digital. But the term – and the basic idea behind it – are not new. First used in 2011 at Hannover Fair in Germany, the term Industry 4.0 originates from a question posed by the German government to its country’s manufacturing industry leaders: What is the next stage of evolution for manufacturing?

Posted in: Articles, News, Manufacturing & Prototyping

Design Tips For Using Coatings

When designing parts for coatings, there are some things you’ll want to take into account. Even the most impeccably designed parts sometimes face problems during the coating process. By following a few basic design tips, you can avoid potential issues down the road. Read our white paper to learn more.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Nanotechnology

Method for Fabricating Metallic Panels with Deep Stiffener Sections

This method is a rapid, more environmentally friendly, cost-effective process.

This innovation integrates existing highperformance metallic materials and manufacturing technologies (all of which are now certified and used to produce thinner stiffened panels for launch vehicle structures) in a novel manner to allow fabrication of more structurally efficient panels with stiffeners that are substantially deeper than existing plate stock materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Metallurgy, Launch vehicles

Robust, High-Temperature Containment Cartridges for Microgravity

Other potential applications include chemical processing, heat pipes, power generation equipment, nuclear components, and automotive.

Robust, high-temperature containment cartridges are needed for processing materials science experiments in microgravity. In general, the refractory metals (Nb, Ta, Mo, W, Re) possess the chemical inertness and high melting temperatures desired. Of these materials, niobium and tantalum alloys have been the materials of choice due to their low ductile to brittle transition temperatures, which allow deep-draw forming into cylindrical shapes. The high cost of tantalum and niobium, along with the desire for cartridges resistant to molten zinc and usable to 1,500 °C, demonstrates the need for alternative cartridge materials. Two candidate materials are molybdenum and tungsten alloys. Both have high melting temperatures and cost an order of magnitude less than tantalum and niobium.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Containers, Refractory materials, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft

Method for Insertion of Carbon Fiber Through the Thickness of Dense Dry Fiber Preform

Heat shields for re-entry vehicles, and jet engine exhaust components are two potential applications.

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Creation of a structural joint for a heat shield for extreme entry environments requires structural fibers penetrating through the thickness of the shield at joint locations. The structural fibers must be made of carbon to withstand extremely high temperatures, i.e. 2000 ºC. Carbon fibers, due to their relatively high modulus (stiffness), are easily damaged and broken when handled by a conventional sewing machine. Special coatings such as nylon are required to increase the durability of the fiber to enable its use in a sewing or tufting process.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Fibers, Materials properties

Edge-Bonded Shims

Edge-bonded shims reduce assembly time and require less inventory storage space.

SPIROL International Corp., Danielson, Connecticut

Precision shims are used as compensators to absorb tolerances between mating components. They significantly reduce manufacturing costs by eliminating the need for each component to be precision-machined in order to achieve the proper fit and function of the total assembly. During the assembly process, shims provide adjustment to compensate for accumulated tolerances that significantly reduces the need for re-machining and assembly time. Additionally, shims are commonly used to preserve the faces between mating components, cutting down the required machining time during rebuilds/retrofitting.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Assembling, Machining processes, Parts

Precision Detector Conductance Definition via Ballistic Thermal Transport

This innovation could be applied in the development of bolometric detector array sensors.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The characteristics of a thermal detector, such as sensitivity, response time, and saturation power (or energy resolution), are functions of the thermal conductance of the detector to its cryogenic environment. The thermal conductance is specified to achieve a tradeoff among the highest sensitivity, allowed response time, and the desired saturation energy or power budget for the particular application. It is essential to achieve the design thermal conductance (within an acceptable variance) after a thermal detector has been fabricated. Otherwise, the detector will fail to achieve its desired functionality. In addition, the formation of a multi-pixel imaging array becomes difficult and costly when the design thermal conductance is not achieved with high post-fabrication yield.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors, Imaging and visualization, Conductivity, Thermal testing

Products of Tomorrow: February 2016

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping

Scientists Print in 4D

Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have brought a fourth dimension to their microscale 3D printing technology.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials

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