Materials

Engineered Multifunctional Surfaces for Fluid Handling

These processes create antibacterial and hydrophilic properties on metallic and polymeric surfaces. Designs incorporating variations in capillary geometry and hydrophilic and/or antibacterial surface properties have been developed that are capable of passive gas/liquid separation and passive water flow. These designs can incorporate capillary grooves and/or surfaces arranged to create linear and circumferential capillary geometry at the micro and macro scale, radial fin configurations, micro holes and patterns, and combinations of the above.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Can Cobalt-Graphene Beat Out Platinum As Catalyst in Hydrogen Fuel Cells?

Platinum works well as a catalyst in hydrogen fuel cells, but it is expensive and degrades over time. Brown University chemist Shouheng Sun and his students have developed a new material — a graphene sheet covered by cobalt and cobalt-oxide nanoparticles — that can catalyze the oxygen reduction reaction nearly as well as platinum does and is substantially more durable.

Posted in: Alternative Fuels, Materials, Energy, News

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'Nanoflowers' for Energy Storage and Solar Cells

North Carolina State University researchers have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) – a semiconductor material – that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area. The GeS flowers hold promise for next-generation energy storage devices and solar cells.

Posted in: Batteries, Materials, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Renewable Energy, Nanotechnology, News

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Tools to Prepare Aluminum Surfaces for Bonding

Adhesive-based methods can be compromised without proper surface preparation. Bonding to aluminum can be a difficult task. Many engineers will search for a single and simple remedy in the form of a low-temperature adhesive for making structural joints without welding. A number of manufacturers offer adhesives intended to get the job done. VHB foam tapes have also been studied as a solution, depending upon application requirements such as shear, peel resistance, service temperature, and energy absorption. However, all adhesive-based remedies and their performance specifications will be compromised if surface preparation is overlooked.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Hybrid Filter Membrane

Uses for this device include battle tanks, remote command centers, field hospitals, and nuclear power plants. Cabin environmental control is an important issue for a successful Moon mission. Due to the unique environment of the Moon, lunar dust control is one of the main problems that significantly diminishes the air quality inside spacecraft cabins. Therefore, this innovation was motivated by NASA’s need to minimize the negative health impact that air-suspended lunar dust particles have on astronauts in spacecraft cabins.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Silk Microneedles Deliver Controlled-Release Drugs Painlessly

Tiny needles deliver precise amounts of drugs over time without need for refrigeration. Bioengineers have developed a new silk-based microneedle system able to deliver precise amounts of drugs over time and without need for refrigeration. The tiny needles can be fabricated under normal temperature and pressure and from water, so they can be loaded with sensitive biochemical compounds and maintain their activity prior to use. They are also biodegradable and biocompatible.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Drug Delivery & Dispensing, Treatment Devices, Materials, Medical, Drug Delivery & Fluid Handling, Briefs, MDB

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Resin-Impregnated Carbon Ablator: A New Ablative Material for Hyperbolic Entry Speeds

From surface temperatures as high as ≈3,000 °C, the measured back temperature is only 50 °C Ablative materials are required to protect a space vehicle from the extreme temperatures encountered during the most demanding (hyperbolic) atmospheric entry velocities, either for probes launched toward other celestial bodies, or coming back to Earth from deep space missions. To that effect, the resinimpregnated carbon ablator (RICA) is a high-temperature carbon/phenolic ablative thermal protection system (TPS) material designed to use modern and commercially viable components in its manufacture. Heritage carbon/phenolic ablators intended for this use rely on materials that are no longer in production (i.e., Galileo, Pioneer Venus); hence the development of alternatives such as RICA is necessary for future NASA planetary entry and Earth re-entry missions. RICA’s capabilities were initially measured in air for Earth re-entry applications, where it was exposed to a heat flux of 14 MW/m2 for 22 seconds. Methane tests were also carried out for potential application in Saturn’s moon Titan, with a nominal heat flux of 1.4 MW/m2for up to 478 seconds. Three slightly different material formulations were manufactured and subsequently tested at the Plasma Wind Tunnel of the University of Stuttgart in Germany (PWK1) in the summer and fall of 2010. The TPS’ integrity was well preserved in most cases, and results show great promise.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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