Tech Exchange

Piezo-Powered Actuators Offer Reduction in Weight

A set of piezoelectric actuators weighs 4 to 50 times less than other robotic actuators in end-effectors, including hydraulic or solenoid devices. The small piezos use ultra-low power: 3 mA holding current at 6.8 VDC, 7.5 mW. The piezo technology is a scalable actuator moved by a pre-loaded piezo stack. One- and two-armed versions are available.

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Microscopic Sphere Production Process Eliminates Classification Needs After Processing

A new process produces microspheres of an extremely narrow size distribution and high homogeneity, measuring between 2 and 10 μm. The process can make the microscopic spheres from any material that can be polymerized; acrylic and styrene spheres have been produced.

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Creation of Novel Optical Effects

A client seeks transformative technologies that will enable a variety of optical effects or hidden messaging to be created directly onto consumer products and its packaging. Reversible effects that are triggered by external stimuli, such as water (hydrochromic) and light (photochromic), are of interest. Solutions may include novel inks, transformative (phase change) materials, innovative labeling systems, liquid crystals, or holographic imaging. The product must be nontoxic, and should ideally enable multiple colors and effects.

Posted in: Tech Exchange, NASA Tech Needs

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Reduction of Plastics Used in Packaging

An organization must reduce the amount of plastic resin used in packaging, while maintaining the package’s structural integrity and functionality through the supply chain. It may be possible, for example, to inject air bubbles into plastic resin in such a way as to maintain container size, shape, and strength. Mold-in structural members may also be used to decrease weight and material use, while preserving packaging functionality. The client seeks compatibility with blow-molding technologies, but is open to injection-molding options if they result in a solution that provides lower cost and/or resin content.

Posted in: Tech Needs, NASA Tech Needs

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New Shipping Alternatives for Liquid and Granular Materials

Liquids and granular materials can often be of high weight and mass. A firm seeks new shipping alternatives to handle both kinds of material. Alternative means of shipping product, inter-plant, between plant and distributor, to the retailer, and ultimately to the consumer are required. Ideally, the new shipping alternatives would result in less packaging, less costly packaging, and greener (more environmental and sustainable) packaging. A possible example is substituting paper packaging for plastic.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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Oxygen Barrier Materials for Improving Food/Beverage Shelf Life

An organization would like to increase the oxygen barrier in thermoplastic elastomers by an order of magnitude or more to preserve the shelf life of food/beverages. This organization is seeking an order-of-magnitude improvement in oxygen blocking, without a substantial increase in cost. This improvement may be achieved by a new material, by ingredients mixed with the current formulas, or by using additives with the mix. Regulatory approvals and organoleptic issues (flavor/odor/color effects) are also concerns.

Posted in: Tech Needs, NASA Tech Needs

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MothEye Non-Reflective Display Coating Kills Glare and Improves Contrast

Sub-wavelength nanostructures virtually eliminate glare and minimize reflection while enhancing contrast and light transmission to over 99% in the visible wavelengths. Sony Chemical has developed manufacturing expertise in this nanostructure coating, which is called “MothEye” because it emulates the hexagonal cells and nanostructures of the eye of a moth. A roll-to-roll production method has been developed.

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