Materials & Coatings

Diamond-Coated Carbon Nanotubes for Efficient Field Emission

Field-emission cathodes containing arrays of carbon nanotubes coated with diamond or diamond like carbon (DLC) are undergoing development. Multiwalled carbon nanotubes have been shown to perform well as electron field emitters. The idea underlying the present development is that by coating carbon nanotubes with wideband gap materials like diamond or DLC, one could reduce effective work functions, thereby reducing threshold electric-field levels for field emission of electrons and, hence, improving cathode performance. To demonstrate feasibility, experimental cathodes were fabricated by (1) covering metal bases with carbon nanotubes bound to the bases by an electrically conductive binder and (2) coating the nanotubes, variously, with diamond or DLC by plasma-assisted chemical vapor deposition. In tests, the threshold electric-field levels for emission of electrons were reduced by as much as 40 percent, relative to those of uncoated- nanotube cathodes. Coating with diamond or DLC could also make field emission-cathodes operate more stably by helping to prevent evaporation of carbon from nanotubes in the event of overheating of the cathodes. Cathodes of this type are expected to be useful principally as electron sources for cathode-ray tubes and flatpanel displays.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Anhydrous Proton-Conducting Membranes for Fuel Cells

Operating temperatures could be as high as 200 °C. Polymeric electrolyte membranes that do not depend on water for conduction of protons are undergoing development for use in fuel cells. Prior polymeric electrolyte fuel-cell membranes (e.g., those that contain perfluorosulfonic acid) depend on water and must be limited to operation below a temperature of 125 °C because they retain water poorly at higher temperatures. In contrast, the present developmental anhydrous membranes are expected to function well at temperatures up to 200 °C.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials

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Glass Frit Filters for Collecting Metal

Filter disks made of glass frit have been found to be effective as means of high throughput collection of metal oxide particles, ranging in size from a few to a few hundred nanometers, produced in gas phase condensation reactors. In a typical application, a filter is placed downstream of the reactor and a valve is used to regulate the flow of reactor exhaust through the filter. The exhaust stream includes a carrier gas, particles, byproducts, and unreacted particle precursor gas. The filter selectively traps the particles while allowing the carrier gas, the byproducts, and, in some cases, the unreacted precursor, to flow through unaffected. Although the pores in the filters are much larger than the particles, the particles are nevertheless trapped to a high degree: Anecdotal information from an experiment indicates that 6-nm-diameter particles of MnO2 were trapped with >99-percent effectiveness by a filtering device comprising a glass-frit disk having pores 70 to 100 µm wide immobilized in an 8-cm-diameter glass tube equipped with a simple twist valve at its downstream end.

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Modifications of a Composite-Material Combustion Chamber

Two short reports discuss modifications of a small, lightweight combustion chamber that comprises a carbon/carbon composite outer shell and an iridium/rhenium inner liner. The first report discusses chamber design modifications made as results of hot-fire tests and post-test characterization. The modifications were intended to serve a variety of purposes, including improving fabrication, reducing thermal-expansion mismatch stresses, increasing strength-to-weight ratios of some components, and improving cooling of some components. The second report discusses (1) the origin of stress in the mismatch between the thermal expansions of the Ir/Re liner and a niobium sleeve and flange attached to the carbon/carbon shell and (2) a modification intended to relieve the stress. The modification involves the redesign of an inlet connection to incorporate a compressible seal between the Ir/Re liner and the Nb flange. A nickel alloy was selected as the seal material on the basis of its thermal-expansion properties and its ability to withstand the anticipated stresses, including the greatest stresses caused by the high temperatures to be used in brazing during fabrication.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Development of Carbon-Nanotube/Polymer Composites

A report presents a short discussion of one company’s effort to develop composites of carbon nanotubes in epoxy and other polymer matrices.

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Multicomponent, Rare-Earth-Doped Thermal-Barrier Coatings

Thermal conductivities are reduced while maximum use temperatures are increased. Multicomponent, rare-earth-doped, perovskite-type thermal-barrier coating materials have been developed in an effort to obtain lower thermal conductivity, greater phase stability, and greater high-temperature capability, relative to those of the prior thermal-barrier coating material of choice, which is yttriapartially stabilized zirconia. As used here, “thermal-barrier coatings” (TBCs) denotes thin ceramic layers used to insulate air-cooled metallic components of heat engines (e.g., gas turbines) from hot gases. These layers are generally fabricated by plasma spraying or physical vapor deposition of the TBC materials onto the metal components.

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Reactive Additives for Phenylethynyl-Containing Resins

Processability is improved. Phenylethynyl containing reactive additive (PERA) compounds and mixtures have been found to be useful for improving the processability of oligomers, polymers, cooligomers, and copolymers that contain phenylethynyl groups. The additives can be incorporated in different forms:

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