Materials & Coatings

Pt-Ni and Pt-Co Catalyst Synthesis Route for Fuel Cell Applications

The main objective is to increase the overall efficiencies of fuel cell systems to support power for manned lunar bases. Oxygen reduction reactions (ORRs) at the cathode are the rate-limiting step in fuel cell performance. The ORR is 100 times slower than the corresponding hydrogen oxidation at the anode. Speeding up the reaction at the cathode will improve fuel cell efficiency.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Aerogel-Based Multilayer Insulation With Micrometeoroid Protection

The aerogel’s hydrophobic nature ensures thermal performance when exposed to the environment. Ultra-low-density, highly hydrophobic, fiber-reinforced aerogel material integrated with MLI (aluminized Mylar reflectors and B4A Dacron separators) offers a highly effective insulation package by providing unsurpassed thermal performance and significant robustness, delivering substantial MMOD protection via the addition of a novel, durable, external aerogel layer. The hydrophobic nature of the aerogel is an important property for maintaining thermal performance if the material is exposed to the environment (i.e. rain, snow, etc.) during ground installations.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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New Material Enables Improved Ultrasound

Ultrasound technology could soon be improved to produce high-quality, high-resolution images, thanks to the development of a new key material by a team of researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, College Station.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Imaging & Diagnostics, Optics/Photonics, Imaging, Optics, Materials, Metals, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Diagnostics, Nanotechnology, Briefs, MDB

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Self-Healing Nanocomposites for Reusable Composite Cryotanks

Applications for COPVs include storage of natural gas and liquid hydrogen fuel in vehicles, and marine transport of propane via tanker ships. Composite cryotanks, or composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), offer advantages over currently used aluminum- lithium cryotanks, particularly with respect to weight savings. Future NASA missions are expected to use COPVs in spaceflight propellant tanks to store fuels, oxidizers, and other liquids for launch and space exploration vehicles. However, reliability, reparability, and reusability of the COPVs are still being addressed, especially in cryogenic temperature applications; this has limited the adoption of COPVs in reusable vehicle designs.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Ceramic Adhesive and Methods for On-Orbit Repair of Re-Entry Vehicles

Material can be applied in space to repair damage that requires heat/oxidation protection upon re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere. This adhesive is capable of repairing damaged leading edge components of re-entry vehicles while in space, and is novel with regard to its ability to be applied in the vacuum of space, and in a microgravity environment. Once applied, the adhesive provides thermal and oxidation protection to the substrate (in this case, reinforced carbon/carbon composites, RCCs) during re-entry of a space vehicle. Although there may be many formulations for repair adhesives, at the time of this reporting, this is the first known adhesive capable of an onorbit repair.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Regenerable Sorbent for CO2 Removal

A durable, high-capacity regenerable sorbent can remove CO2 from the breathing loop under a Martian atmosphere. The system design allows nearambient temperature operation, needs only a small temperature swing, and sorbent regeneration takes place at or above 8 torr, eliminating the potential for Martian atmosphere to leak into the regeneration bed and into the breathing loop. The physical adsorbent can be used in a metabolic, heat-driven TSA system to remove CO2 from the breathing loop of the astronaut and reject it to the Martian atmosphere. Two (or more) alternating sorbent beds continuously scrub and reject CO2 from the spacesuit ventilation loop. The sorbent beds are cycled, alternately absorbing CO2 from the vent loop and rejecting the adsorbed material into the environment at a high CO2 partial pressure (above 8 torr). The system does not need to run the adsorber at cryogenic temperatures, and uses a much smaller temperature swing.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Li-Ion Electrolytes With Improved Safety and Tolerance to High-Voltage Systems

Promising electrolytes are identified. Given that lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology is the most viable rechargeable energy storage device for near-term applications, effort has been devoted to improving the safety characteristics of this system. Therefore, extensive effort has been devoted to developing non-flammable electrolytes to reduce the flammability of the cells/battery. A number of promising electrolytes have been developed incorporating flame-retardant additives, and have been shown to have good performance in a number of systems. However, these electrolyte formulations did not perform well when utilizing carbonaceous anodes with the high-voltage materials. Thus, further development was required to improve the compatibility.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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