NASA Tech Needs

Low-Energy-Curing Technology

A company seeks new and/or advanced curing technologies to incorporate into metal packaging protective coating and decoration processes. Systems could include metal containers for aerosols, beverages, food products, and specialty packaging, all of which require external and/or internal protective coatings. Process improvement may be obtained by upgrading the efficiency of the existing thermal curing gas ovens or introducing new coating materials that can be cured more efficiently using the existing ovens.

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Inhibit or Deactivate Plant Enzymes

An organization wants to deactivate or otherwise interfere with the action of enzymes pectin methylesterase and polygalacturonase, which interfere with the processing of certain fruits by degrading fruit pectins. Initial processing of the whole fruit releases the enzymes and release continues during further processing. The release of the enzymes decreases the thickening power of the fruit solids. By deactivating the enzymes, especially without using heat, more of the fruit solids thickening power may be conserved during processing. Greater retention of pectin in its natural state may also provide added benefits in serum binding and overall consumer acceptance.

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Sustainable Processes for Green Polymer Production

Technologies leading to sustainable and green production of polymers are sought. Candidate technologies should fit recently developed definitions for green chemistries. Chemistries that produce safe chemicals, that use safer solvents and auxiliaries, and/or that produce chemicals designed for degradation are preferable. Byproducts of the process should either not be hazardous, or easy and economical to be rendered harmless for people and the environment.

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Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600

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Reflective Aerosol

This technology need is for an aerosol with properties that enable it to be easily launched using a pulsed jet fogger. It also must have reflectivity or other optical properties, and must be safe for human cutaneous and pulmonary contact. The aerosol should have optical properties that can be manipulated using laser light or other light sources to produce large-scale images and other visual effects. The aerosol would be used to create a large image that is visible from multiple vantage points by “painting” the aerosol from within or without in such a manner that a three-dimensional object is emulated.

Respond to this TechNeed at:

Email: nasatech@yet2.com
Phone: 781-972-0600

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Rapid DC Magnetron Sputtering

DC magnetron sputtering provides a very durable and stable coating that has many high-energy laser (HEL) and industrial applications, especially in producing coatings for high-reflectivity (HR) mirrors and anti-reflection (AR) coated windows. However, the DC magnetron sputtering deposition process is extremely slow. This slow deposition results in long coating run times that translate into increased coating cost. An organization wants to reduce magnetron sputtering deposition times from 17 hours to 2 or 3 hours, while meeting current coating performance requirements. Coatings must meet MIL-C- 48497A environmental requirements.

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Low VOC Binder/Resin System

Technology is required to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in binder/resins while maintaining or enhancing existing product properties. Potential solutions could include the addition of a compound or additive that reduces VOC demand, a new crosslinking system for polymers to enhance molecular network formation, or another technical solution that eliminates the existing issues with the low VOC resins currently available, such as poor appearance and high viscosity during drying (as typically encountered in a water borne approach), or slow drying and high application viscosity (as typically encountered in high-solids paints).

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Solar-Based Hydrogen Generation Technology

A company seeks to increase the efficiency of solar-based hydrogen generation systems by device technologies that can help to develop a new module with at least 16% solar energy utilization efficiency. Examples include the Z-scheme method and tandem type, which has achieved a Solar Energy Utilization Efficiency of 4.5% and 12.4%, respectively. Of particular interest are research organizations such as universities, and venture organizations that work jointly with them.

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Making Metal Packaging Lighter

Because of increasing cost pressures on high-volume metal packaging, a manufacturer needs to make each unit weight of metal (steel and aluminum) go further. Technologies are sought that make metal packaging lighter and enhance the physical performance (like tensile strength, stiffness, etc). This could include, for example, improvements brought about by “dimpling” the metal surface and other macro surface modifications.

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High-Birefringence Optical Material

A high-birefringence optical material suitable for implementation in optical systems is sought. This material has several qualities of interest beyond high birefringence: high hardness, making it amenable to standard polishing and manufacturing processes; low CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion); low CTRI (coefficient of thermal refractive index); low absorption at 1.55 micrometers; and reasonable bulk density. A material is sought that can be processed and handled using standard techniques.

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Freshness Indicator for Consumer Packaging

A technology is sought that indicates that a product packed into a rigid metal container has not been tampered with and/or degraded over time. The solution must incorporate a method of communicating this information to the packager, retailer, or consumer. After packaging, and depending on the product, the container may be subjected to a thermal treatment, to a maximum of 130°C for an hour for some canned foods, or a 90°C pasteurization treatment for some beverages.

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