Materials & Coatings

The Heavy Impact of Advanced Lightweight Materials

Historically, high-strength materials have been heavy and dense. The need for high-strength but lightweight materials has become more widespread when designing everything from vehicles and aircraft, to buildings and wind turbines. These advanced materials are enabling engines to operate efficiently at higher temperatures, use less fuel, and emit fewer pollutants, as well as finding uses in many other applications.

Posted in: Articles, Materials, Technical reference, Technical review, Lightweight materials, Durability, Durability

'Tougher-than-Metal' Hydrogels Support New Biomaterials

Scientists from Japan's Hokkaido University have created tough hydrogels combined with woven fiber fabric. The "fiber-reinforced soft composite" fabrics are highly flexible, stronger than metals, and can support a number of potential applications, including artificial ligaments and tendons subjected to load-bearing tension.

Posted in: News, Materials

Mechanical Metamaterials Can Block Symmetry of Motion

Engineers and scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and the AMOLF institute in the Netherlands have invented mechanical metamaterials that transfer motion in one direction while blocking it in the other. The material can be thought of as a mechanical one-way shield that blocks energy from coming in but easily transmits it going out the other side. The researchers developed the mechanical materials using metamaterials, which are synthetic materials with properties that cannot be found in nature.

Posted in: News, Materials, Motion Control

Benefits of Silicone Elastomers for Healthcare Applications

When the human body requires support or artificial replacements in order to function properly or to boost the healing process, it is essential that the materials employed meet the highest quality requirements. Pure silicones support meeting these demands, and their extraordinary properties make them ideal for highly sensitive healthcare applications.

Posted in: Webinars, On-Demand Webinars, Materials, Medical

Light-Absorbent Material Keeps Buildings Cool

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have created a thin, flexible, light-absorbing material that absorbs more than 87 percent of near-infrared light. The technology could someday support the development of solar cells; transparent window coatings to keep cars and buildings cool; and lightweight shields that block thermal detection.

Posted in: News, Materials

Metallic Glass Shatters Gear Limitations

Gears play an essential role in precision robotics, and they can become a limiting factor when the robots must perform in space missions. In particular, the extreme temperatures of deep space pose numerous problems for successful gear operation. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, technologist Douglas Hofmann and his collaborators aim to bypass the limitations of existing steel gears by creating gears from bulk metallic glass (BMG).

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Metals, Mechanical Components, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Power Transmission, Robotics, Robotics, Alloys, Glass, Gears, Durability, Durability, Spacecraft

Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces

This multidimensional system detects damage to surfaces and vessels.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) seeks to license its Multidimensional Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces technology. The ability to detect damage to composite surfaces can be crucial, especially when those surfaces are enclosing a sealed environment that sustains human life and/or critical equipment or materials. Minor damage caused by foreign objects can, over time, eventually compromise the structural shell resulting in loss of life and/or destruction of equipment or material. The capability to detect and precisely locate damage to protective surfaces enables technicians to prognosticate the expected lifetime of the composite system, as well as to initiate repairs when needed to prevent catastrophic failure or to extend the service life of the structure.

Posted in: Briefs, Composites, Materials, Sensors, Diagnostics, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Prognostics, Composite materials, Protective structures

Methods for Intercalating and Exfoliating Hexagonal Boron Nitride

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a number of materials and methods to optimize the performance of nanomaterials by making them tougher, more resistant, and easier to process. Glenn's scientists are generating critical improvements at all stages of nanomaterial production, from finding new ways to produce nanomaterials, to purifying them to work more effectively with advanced composites, to devising innovative techniques to incorporate them into matrices, veils, and coatings. These advances can be used to deposit protective coatings for textile-based composite materials, layer carbon nanotubes to add reinforcement, upgrade the properties of carbon ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), and integrate nanomaterial fibers into polymer matrix composites (PMCs). The field of nanomaterials is expanding rapidly, and NASA's Glenn Research Center is just as rapidly creating newer and better ways to deploy nanomaterials in industry and research.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Research and development, Production, Nanomaterials

Method for Fabricating Diamond-Dispersed, Fiber-Reinforced Composite Coating on Low-Temperature Sliding Thrust Bearing Interfaces

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a method for fabricating a fiber-reinforced diamond composite coating on the surfaces of sliding thrust bearings at low and cryogenic temperatures. The innovative composite coating is a mixture of diamond particles, organic chemicals, and fibers or fabrics. The diamond particles provide high hardness, and the fibers and binding matrix provide high-fracture toughness. Glenn's fabrication method can be tailored to meet a range of performance requirements for lightweight, low-temperature sliding thrust bearing applications. For example, the volume fraction of diamond particles can be increased to enhance the hardness of the composite coating, or the volume fraction of binding matrix can be increased to enhance its crack or fracture resistance. Glenn's method offers a diamond composite coating that is more cost-effective, wear-resistant, and fracture-tough than existing alternatives.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Particulate matter (PM), Fabrication, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Composite materials, Fibers, Bearings

Enhanced Composite Damping Through Engineered Interfaces

Material damping is important in the design of structures as it limits vibration amplitudes, increases fatigue life, and affects impact resistance. This is particularly true for composite materials, which are currently used extensively in applications that experience frequent dynamic loading. Furthermore, the damping capacity of composites can be significantly greater than that of standard engineering materials. Like other performance parameters of composites (e.g., stiffness, strength, density), the effective damping capacity of composite materials is dependent not only on the damping properties of the constituent materials, but also microstructural details such as fiber volume fraction, fiber orientation, ply stack up, fiber packing array, and weave pattern in woven composites. Therefore, like other performance parameters, composite damping capacity can be engineered.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Composite materials, Insulation, Vibration, Vibration

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