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Durable Joining Technology for Uniformly-Curved Composite Sandwich Structures

An insert improves distribution of load through the joint, increasing safety. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia NASA’s next-generation launch vehicles will be enabled by high-performance composite materials and innovative manufacturing methods. As such, NASA uses adhesively bonded joints where possible instead of mechanically fastened (bolted) joints to design and manufacture structures. The adhesive joints typically are lighter and distribute loads more efficiently across an interface, while mechanically fastened joints are prone to stress concentrations around the bolts.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Ohmic Contact to N- and P-Type Silicon Carbide

Ohmic contact can be formed in one process step. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Electrical ohmic contacts can be simultaneously formed on silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors having donor and acceptor impurities (n- and p-type doping, respectively). This implies that such contacts can be formed on SiC layers in one process step during the fabrication of the semiconductor device. This also means that the multiple process steps for fabricating contacts onto n- and p-type surfaces, which is characteristic of the prior art, will be greatly reduced, thereby reducing time and cost, and increasing yield (more process steps and complexity increases chances for lower yields). Another significance of this invention is that this scheme can serve as a non-discriminatory, universal ohmic contact to both n- and p-type SiC, without compromising the reliability of the specific contact resistivity when operated at temperatures in excess of 600 °C.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Flap Edge Noise Reduction Fins

This innovation has applications in aircraft leading edge slats and rotor tips for propulsion components on both aircraft and rotorcraft, as well as on wind turbines. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Aircraft noise is a significant problem with both economic and public health implications, especially for communities near airports. As a result, increasingly stringent constraints are being placed on aircraft carriers worldwide to reduce this noise. The current disclosure focuses on airframe noise generated at or near the surface of the flap-side edge.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Researchers Create Energy-Absorbing Material

Materials like solid gels and porous foams are used for padding and cushioning, but each has its own advantages and limitations.A team of engineers and scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has found a way to design and fabricate, at the microscale, new cushioning materials with a broad range of programmable properties and behaviors that exceed the limitations of the material's composition, through additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. Livermore researchers, led by engineer Eric Duoss and scientist Tom Wilson, focused on creating a micro-architected cushion using a silicone-based ink that cures to form a rubber-like material after printing. During the printing process, the ink is deposited as a series of horizontally aligned filaments (which can be fine as a human hair) in a single layer. The second layer of filaments is then placed in the vertical direction. This process repeats itself until the desired height and pore structure is reached.The researchers envision using their novel energy-absorbing materials in many applications, including shoe and helmet inserts, protective materials for sensitive instrumentation, and in aerospace applications to combat the effects of temperature fluctuations and vibration.SourceAlso: Read more Materials tech briefs.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Materials, Aerospace, Defense, News

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Custom Surface Inspection System for Safety-Critical Processes

Researchers have engineered a high-precision modular inspection system that can be adapted on a customer-specific basis and integrated into the production process. Before a workpiece leaves the production plant, it is subjected to rigorous inspection. For safety-critical applications such as in the automotive or aerospace industries, manufacturers can only use the most impeccable parts.

Posted in: Cameras, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Industrial Controls & Automation, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Aerospace, News, Automotive

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NASA 3D Printing Technique Creates Metal Spacecraft Parts

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are implementing a printing process that transitions from one metal or alloy to another in a single object. JPL scientists have been developing a technique to address this problem since 2010. An effort to improve the methods of combining parts made of different materials in NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission inspired a project to 3D print components with multiple alloy compositions.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Materials, Metals, Aerospace, News

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NASA Engineer Set to Complete First 3D-Printed Space Cameras

By the end of September, NASA aerospace engineer Jason Budinoff is expected to complete the first imaging telescopes ever assembled almost exclusively from 3D-manufactured components.Under his multi-pronged project, funded by Goddard’s Internal Research and Development (IRAD) program, Budinoff is building a fully functional, 50-millimeter (2-inch) camera whose outer tube, baffles and optical mounts are all printed as a single structure. The instrument is appropriately sized for a CubeSat, a tiny satellite comprised of individual units each about four inches on a side. The instrument will be equipped with conventionally fabricated mirrors and glass lenses and will undergo vibration and thermal-vacuum testing next year.Budinoff also is assembling a 350-millimeter (14-inch) dual-channel telescope whose size is more representative of a typical space telescope.Should he prove the approach, Budinoff said NASA scientists would benefit enormously — particularly those interested in building infrared-sensing instruments, which typically operate at super-cold temperatures to gather the infrared light that can be easily overwhelmed by instrument-generated heat. Often, these instruments are made of different materials. However, if all the instrument’s components, including the mirrors, were made of aluminum, then many of the separate parts could be 3D printed as single structures, reducing the parts count and material mismatch. This would decrease the number of interfaces and increase the instrument’s stability.SourceAlso: Learn about an Image Processing Method To Determine Dust Optical Density.

Posted in: Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Optics, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Aerospace, RF & Microwave Electronics, News

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