Manufacturing & Prototyping

Fuel Tank for Liquefied Natural Gas

This technology provides increased strength through overwrapped composite materials.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a new composite vessel technology that is suitable for use as a liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel storage tank for alternative fuel vehicles. This technology uses an improved composite over-wrapped technology to produce a pressure vessel that is simple to use, robust, and capable of withstanding high pressures. It is also lightweight and low cost. This technology shows great potential to help the United States and other countries move toward a cleaner environment while allowing for efficient use of a more natural fuel in many different applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Natural gas, Composite materials, Fuel tanks
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Impact Tester Device

This lightweight instrument is used for investigating structural response.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a portable device to simulate low-velocity impacts on a material or structure. As composite materials are highly susceptible to damage caused by low-velocity impact, they must be designed and evaluated for structural integrity after these types of impacts. The NASA impactor’s design comprises an exterior tube, an instrumented projectile, a spring to propel the projectile, a spring compression device, a release pin, a wooden spacer/locator block, and an optical sensor. The tube can be handheld or rigidly mounted at any angle such that the impact response can be evaluated at specific positions on the test article. In the current configuration, impact energies between 4 and 40 J (between about 3 and 30 ft.-lbs.) can be obtained. Researchers designed a fully functioning prototype for the NASA Engineering and Safety Centers (NESCs) Composite Crew Module (CCM) program for damage tolerance testing. Both the impact force history and projectile velocity are captured during operation.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Composite materials, Impact tests, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Spinoff: Wireless Platform Integrates Sensors with Smartphones

The platform, developed using NASA nanotechnology, paved the way for interchangeable smartphone sensors.

In 2007, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a call for a sensor that could equip a smartphone with the ability to detect dangerous gases and chemicals, Ames Research Center scientist Jing Li had a ready response. Four years earlier, she led a team that wrote a paper on the use of carbon nanotube sensors for gas and organic vapor detection.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Nanotechnology, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Chemicals, Gases, Nanotechnology
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Designing for 3D Printing

3D printing has progressed over the past decade to include multimaterial fabrication, enabling production of powerful, functional objects. While many advances have been made, it still has been difficult for non-programmers to create objects made of many materials (or mixtures of materials) without a more user-friendly interface.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Simulation Software, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Rapid prototyping, Additive manufacturing
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New Fabrication Technique Creates More Efficient Plastic Solar Cells

Schematic of a sequentially cast ternary (SeCaT) solar cell. (Peter and Ryan Allen)

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new strategy for fabricating more efficient plastic solar cells. The work has implications for developing solar cells with a wider absorption range and increased efficiency.

Posted in: News, Solar Power, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Manufacturing processes
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Technique Could Lower Costs of Making Bioplastics and Biofuel

Ulrica Edlund, professor of polymer technology.

While abundant in nature, cellulose is difficult and expensive to find in pure or high-quality form. A Swedish research team has developed an efficient, accurate, and non-destructive way to detect the occurrence and purity of cellulose. The technique can be applied in mixtures of biopolymers as well.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Biofuels, Biomaterials, Plastics
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The Crucial Role of Additive Manufacturing at NASA

At NASA, the first steps of the Journey to Mars are well underway with the development of NASA’s next generation launch system and investments in research and technologies that should increase the affordability, capability, and safety of exploration activities.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Evaluating the Chemistry of Brake Pads using SEM-EDS

Brake pads are a critical part of a vehicle’s overall braking system. With the broad diversity of available brake pad types, sub-types and unique chemistries there is an open question as to which brake pad provides the best overall performance.

Posted in: White Papers, Automotive, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials
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SWaP-C and Why Your Component Partner Matters

The military is continually pushing to decrease the size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) of its electronics, particularly for items carried by the troops. To meet these goals, everyone involved in designing and manufacturing the device needs to work together closely to ensure maximum efficiency of every component. This makes choosing the right partner crucial. Our white paper explores why SWaP-C is so important and includes information on:

Posted in: White Papers, Aeronautics, Defense, Electronics, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Automatic Multi-Pallet Changer

Midaco Corp. (Elk Grove Village, IL) offers an automatic multi-pallet changer for 5-axis and standard vertical machining centers (VMCs). It can load and unload 19 aluminum pallets, one at a time, on any new or existing machine. The servo-driven automatic multipallet changer includes 19 aluminum pallets that are 10" (245 mm) in diameter and 1.25" (31.75 mm) thick. Each pallet’s weight capacity is 75 lbs. (34.05 kg). The pallet changer is equipped with a dual air-blast for chip removal, and the cast iron receiver mounts directly on the machining center table. The enclosure has two drop-down-door loading stations, and the system ensures that a pallet change will not occur if the doors are opened.

Posted in: Products, Industrial Controls & Automation, Automation
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