Materials

Prosthetic Foot Uses Unique Aerospace Material

A new space-age material creates a prosthetic foot that’s built to last. Formerly used only in the aerospace arena, Flexeon is a radical departure from the rigid carbon fiber materials found in most prosthetic feet. It’s a specially- formulated reinforced fiberglass material that is nearly indestructible, extremely flexible, and available exclusively on Ability Dynamic prosthetic devices, such as the RUSH™ foot. Flexeon underwent thorough and extensive testing for flexibility, material strength, and durability in prosthetic labs, as well as on patients aged 21 to 69 in clinical trials. The results of these tests and trials revealed that this high-tech material is three times more flexible than carbon and much more durable than current standard carbon fiber products.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Implants & Prosthetics, Materials / Adhesives / Coatings, Materials, Composites, Plastics, Medical, Briefs, MDB

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High-Temperature, Lightweight, Self- Healing Ceramic Composites for Aircraft Engine Applications

The use of reliable, high-temperature, lightweight materials in the manufacture of aircraft engines is expected to result in lower fossil and biofuel consumption, thereby leading to cost savings and lower carbon emissions due to air travel. Although nickel-based superalloy blades and vanes have been successfully used in aircraft engines for several decades, there has been an increased effort to develop high-temperature, lightweight, creep-resistant substitute materials under various NASA programs over the last two decades. As a result, there has been a great deal of interest in developing SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) due to their higher damage tolerance compared to monolithic ceramics. Current-generation SiC/SiC ceramic matrix composites rely almost entirely on the SiC fibers to carry the load, owing to the premature cracking of the matrix during loading. Thus, the high-temperature usefulness of these CMCs falls well below their theoretical capabilities.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Treatment to Control Adhesion of Silicone-Based Elastomers

Ultraviolet radiation is used to control and decrease the level of adhesion. Seals are used to facilitate the joining of two items, usually temporarily. At some point in the future, it is expected that the items will need to be separated. This innovation enables control of the adhesive properties of silicone-based elastomers. The innovation may also be effective on elastomers other than the silicone- based ones. A technique has been discovered that decreases the level of adhesion of silicone-based elastomers to negligible levels. The new technique causes less damage to the material compared to alternative adhesion mitigation techniques.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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High-Temperature Adhesives for Thermally Stable Aero-Assist Technologies

These adhesives feature high thermal conductivity and increased thermal decomposition temperature. Aero-assist technologies are used to control the velocity of exploration vehicles (EVs) when entering Earth or other planetary atmospheres. Since entry of EVs in planetary atmospheres results in significant heating, thermally stable aero-assist technologies are required to avoid the high heating rates while maintaining low mass. Polymer adhesives are used in aero-assist structures because of the need for high flexibility and good bonding between layers of polymer films or fabrics. However, current polymer adhesives cannot withstand temperatures above 400 ºC.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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New Blood Pressure Connectors Prevent Misconnects

Fittings make quick connections easier and safer, even in low-light situations. Healthcare professionals use medical devices in a variety of settings and situations from urgent to routine. In an emergency, any sort of confusion, hindrance, or hesitation concerning the most minor detail or part of a device can mean a matter of life or death. As a result, there is a constant battle among medical device manufacturers to develop products with superior ergonomics, risk-free designs, and the ability to meet extensive technical requirements—all while maintaining a reasonable profit margin. In response to these concerns, Value Plastics has developed a new line of quick connect fittings. Their BPL Series of tubing connectors incorporates a number of features that are not only aimed at meeting engineers’ needs but also designed to ease users’ stress and frustration that can arise from use in critical situations.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Drug Delivery & Dispensing, Materials / Adhesives / Coatings, Mechanical Components, Materials, Plastics, Medical, Briefs, MDB

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Using Pre-Melted Phase Change Material to Keep Payloads in Space Warm for Hours Without Power

Adding phase change material (PCM) to a mission payload can maintain its temperature above the cold survival limit, without power, for several hours in space. For the International Space Station, PCM is melted by heaters just prior to the payload translation to the worksite when power is available. When power is cut off during the six-hour translation, the PCM releases its latent heat to make up the heat loss from the radiator(s) to space. For the interplanetary Probe, PCM is melted by heaters just prior to separation from the orbiter when power is available from the orbiter power system. After the Probe separates from the orbiter, the PCM releases its latent heat to make up the heat loss from the Probe exterior to space.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Fibrillar Adhesive for Climbing Robots

This material can be used to hang items on walls without the need for drilling holes, as surgical sutures, or to attach and maneuver components during assembly. A climbing robot needs to use its adhesive patches over and over again as it scales a slope. Replacing the adhesive at each step is generally impractical. If the adhesive or attachment mechanism cannot be used repeatedly, then the robot must carry an extra load of this adhesive to apply a fresh layer with each move. Common failure modes include tearing, contamination by dirt, plastic deformation of fibers, and damage from loading/unloading. A gecko-like fibrillar adhesive has been developed that has been shown useful for climbing robots, and may later prove useful for grasping, anchoring, and medical applications.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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