Manufacturing & Prototyping

Flexible, Lightweight Vacuum Shell for Load-Responsive Multilayer Insulation for High Thermal Performance

There are substantial reductions in weight and improvements in performance. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Better thermal insulation is needed to insulate cryogenic propellants used by NASA for launch vehicles, spacecraft, and orbiting fuel depots. In particular, cryotank insulation during in-air pre-launch and launch ascent stages currently uses spray-on foam insulation (SOFI), which is extremely problematic.

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Bulk Separation and Manipulation of Carbon Nanotubes by Type

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The utility of this invention is to extract metals (semi-metals) or semiconductors from bulk nanotube samples. The bulk material is a mixture of the two. These materials can then be used to clone a particular type of nanotube, place a particular type in a device, generate smart materials, or make sensing elements.

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Durable Joining Technology for Uniformly-Curved Composite Sandwich Structures

An insert improves distribution of load through the joint, increasing safety. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia NASA’s next-generation launch vehicles will be enabled by high-performance composite materials and innovative manufacturing methods. As such, NASA uses adhesively bonded joints where possible instead of mechanically fastened (bolted) joints to design and manufacture structures. The adhesive joints typically are lighter and distribute loads more efficiently across an interface, while mechanically fastened joints are prone to stress concentrations around the bolts.

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Ohmic Contact to N- and P-Type Silicon Carbide

Ohmic contact can be formed in one process step. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Electrical ohmic contacts can be simultaneously formed on silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors having donor and acceptor impurities (n- and p-type doping, respectively). This implies that such contacts can be formed on SiC layers in one process step during the fabrication of the semiconductor device. This also means that the multiple process steps for fabricating contacts onto n- and p-type surfaces, which is characteristic of the prior art, will be greatly reduced, thereby reducing time and cost, and increasing yield (more process steps and complexity increases chances for lower yields). Another significance of this invention is that this scheme can serve as a non-discriminatory, universal ohmic contact to both n- and p-type SiC, without compromising the reliability of the specific contact resistivity when operated at temperatures in excess of 600 °C.

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Flap Edge Noise Reduction Fins

This innovation has applications in aircraft leading edge slats and rotor tips for propulsion components on both aircraft and rotorcraft, as well as on wind turbines. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Aircraft noise is a significant problem with both economic and public health implications, especially for communities near airports. As a result, increasingly stringent constraints are being placed on aircraft carriers worldwide to reduce this noise. The current disclosure focuses on airframe noise generated at or near the surface of the flap-side edge.

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Advanced Composite Thrust Chambers for In-Space Propulsion

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Radiation-cooled, bipropellant thrust chambers are being used for in-space propulsion. To increase the performance of radiation-cooled engines, improved chamber materials are needed that will allow higher operating conditions (pressure and temperature), better resistance to oxidation, and reduced mass. During this effort, an innovative composite thrust chamber is being developed that will incorporate advanced hafnium oxide and iridium liner techniques as well as replacing the expensive, high-density rhenium with a low-mass carbon-carbon (C–C) structural wall.

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Integrally Woven Fiber Architecture for Composite Turbine Blades

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Composite turbine blades are currently fabricated by laying up multiple layers of fibers in the form of either unidirectional prepregs or thin woven cloth. Composites formed in this manner have poor through-thickness strength. It is also difficult, if not impossible, to form trailing edges as thin as necessary for optimum engine performance.

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