Materials & Coatings

Elastomer Reinforced With Carbon Nanotubes

Elastomers are reinforced with functionalized, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) giving them high- breaking strain levels and low densities. Cross-linked elastomers are prepared using amine-terminated, poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS), with an average molecular weight of 5,000 daltons, and a functionalized SWNT.

Posted in: Briefs

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Ceramic Fiber Structures for Cryogenic Load-Bearing Applications

Woven or braided fibers resist embrittlement under cryogenic conditions, enabling ultralow-temperature applications. This invention is intended for use as a load-bearing device under cryogenic temperatures and/or abrasive conditions (i.e., during missions to the Moon). The innovation consists of small-diameter, ceramic fibers that are woven or braided into devices like ropes, belts, tracks, or cables. The fibers can be formed from a variety of ceramic materials like silicon carbide, carbon, aluminosilicate, or aluminum oxide. The fiber architecture of the weave or braid is determined by both the fiber properties and the mechanical requirements of the application. A variety of weave or braid architectures is possible for this application. Thickness of load-bearing devices can be achieved by using either a 3D woven structure, or a layered, 2D structure. For the prototype device, a belt approximately 0.10 in. (0.25 cm) thick, and 3.0 in. (7.6 cm) wide was formed by layering and stitching a 2D aluminosilicate fiber weave. The circumferential length of the 2D, layered belt was approximately 36 in. (91 cm).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Cyclic Oxidation Behavior of CuCrAl Cold-Sprayed Coatings for Reusable Launch Vehicles

The next generation of reusable launch vehicles is likely to use GRCop-84 [Cu-8(at.%)Cr-4%Nb] copper alloy combustion liners. The application of protective coatings on GRCop-84 liners can minimize or eliminate many of the environmental problems experienced by uncoated liners and significantly extend their operational lives and lower operational cost. A newly developed Cu-23 (wt.%) Cr-5% Al (CuCrAl) coating, shown to resist hydrogen attack and oxidation in an as-cast form, is currently being considered as a protective coating for GRCop-84. The coating was deposited on GRCop-84 substrates by the cold spray deposition technique, where the CuCrAl was procured as gas-atomized powders. Cyclic oxidation tests were conducted between 773 and 1,073 K to characterize the coated substrates.

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Electrolytes for Low-Temperature Operation of Li-CFx Cells

A report describes a study of electrolyte compositions selected as candidates for improving the low-temperature performances of primary electrochemical cells that contain lithium anodes and fluorinated carbonaceous (CFx) cathodes. This study complements the developments reported in “Additive for Low-Temperature Operation of Li-(CF)n Cells” (NPO-43579) and Li/CFx Cells Optimized for Low-Temperature Operation (NPO-43585), which appear elsewhere in this issue of NASA Tech Briefs.

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Detecting Airborne Mercury by Use of Gold Nanowires

Mercury has been detected at concentrations as low as 2 ppb. Like the palladium chloride (PdCl2) films described in the immediately preceding article, gold nanowire sensors have been found to be useful for detecting airborne elemental mercury at concentrations on the order of parts per billion (ppb). Also like the PdCl2 films, gold nanowire sensors can be regenerated under conditions much milder than those necessary for regeneration of gold films that have been used as airborne-Hg sensors. The interest in nanowire sensors in general is prompted by the expectation that nanowires of a given material covering a given surface may exhibit greater sensitivity than does a film of the same material because nanowires have a greater surface area.

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Detecting Airborne Mercury by Use of Palladium Chloride

These sensors can be regenerated under relatively mild conditions. Palladium chloride films have been found to be useful as alternatives to the gold films heretofore used to detect airborne elemental mercury at concentrations of the order of parts per billion (ppb). Somewhat more specifically, when suitably prepared palladium chloride films are exposed to parts-per-billion or larger concentrations of airborne mercury, their electrical resistances change by amounts large enough to be easily measurable. Because airborne mercury adversely affects health, it is desirable to be able to detect it with high sensitivity, especially in enclosed environments in which there is a risk of leakage of mercury from lamps or other equipment.

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Silicon Nanowire Growth at Chosen Positions and Orientations

There are numerous potential applications in highly miniaturized sensors and electronic devices. It is now possible to grow silicon nanowires at chosen positions and orientations by a method that involves a combination of standard microfabrication processes. Because their positions and orientations can be chosen with unprecedented precision, the nanowires can be utilized as integral parts of individually electronically addressable devices in dense arrays.

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