Materials & Coatings

Multifunctional Deployment Hinges Rigidified by Ultraviolet

These hinges provide both structural support and electrical connections.

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Multi-Layer Laminated Thin Films for Inflatable Structures

Laminates offer advantages over equal-thickness monolayer sheets. Special-purpose balloons and other inflatable structures would be constructed as flexible laminates of multiple thin polymeric films interspersed with layers of adhesive, according to a proposal. In the original intended application, the laminate would serve as the envelope of the Titan Aerobot — a proposed robotic airship for exploring Titan (one of the moons of Saturn). Potential terrestrial applications for such flexible laminates could include blimps and sails.

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Nanostructured MnO2-Based Cathodes for Li-Ion/Polymer Cells

Experiments show promise for increasing energy densities. Nanostructured MnO2-based cathodes for Li-ion/polymer electrochemical cells have been investigated in a continuing effort to develop safe, highenergy-density, reliable, low-toxicity, rechargeable batteries for a variety of applications in NASA programs and in mass-produced commercial electronic equipment. Whereas the energy densities of state-of-the-art lithium-ion/polymer batteries range from 150 to 175 W·h/kg, the goal of this effort is to increase the typical energy density to about 250 W·h/kg. It is also expected that an incidental benefit of this effort will be increases in power densities because the distances over which Li ions must diffuse through nanostructured cathode materials are smaller than those through solid bulk cathode materials.

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Making Macroscopic Assemblies of Aligned Carbon Nanotubes

Nanotubes are aligned and manipulated with the help of magnetic and/or electric fields. A method of aligning and assembling single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) to fabricate macroscopic structures has been invented. The method entails suspending SWNTs in a fluid, orienting the SWNTs by use of a magnetic and/or electric field, and then removing the aligned SWNTs from suspension in such a way as to assemble them while maintaining the alignment.

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Formulating Precursors for Coating Metals and Ceramics

A protocol has been devised for formulating low-vapor-pressure precursors for protective and conversion coatings on metallic and ceramic substrates.

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Photocatalytic Coats in Glass Drinking-Water Bottles

According to a proposal, the insides of glass bottles used to store drinking water would be coated with films consisting of or containing TiO2. In the presence of ultraviolet light, these films would help to remove bacteria, viruses, and trace organic contaminants from the water.

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Isogrid Membranes for Precise, Singly Curved Reflectors

Reinforcing meshes of fibers would prevent wrinkles and ripples. A new type of composite material has been proposed for membranes that would constitute the reflective surfaces of planned lightweight, single curvature (e.g., parabolic cylindrical) reflectors for some radar and radio communication systems. The proposed composite materials would consist of polyimide membranes containing embedded grids of high strength (e.g., carbon) fibers. The purpose of the fiber reinforcements, as explained in more detail below, is to prevent wrinkling or rippling of the membrane.

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