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Multi-Layer Laminated Thin Films for Inflatable Structures

Laminates offer advantages over equal-thickness monolayer sheets. Special-purpose balloons and other inflatable structures would be constructed as flexible laminates of multiple thin polymeric films interspersed with layers of adhesive, according to a proposal. In the original intended application, the laminate would serve as the envelope of the Titan Aerobot — a proposed robotic airship for exploring Titan (one of the moons of Saturn). Potential terrestrial applications for such flexible laminates could include blimps and sails.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Formulating Precursors for Coating Metals and Ceramics

A protocol has been devised for formulating low-vapor-pressure precursors for protective and conversion coatings on metallic and ceramic substrates.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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Making Macroscopic Assemblies of Aligned Carbon Nanotubes

Nanotubes are aligned and manipulated with the help of magnetic and/or electric fields. A method of aligning and assembling single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) to fabricate macroscopic structures has been invented. The method entails suspending SWNTs in a fluid, orienting the SWNTs by use of a magnetic and/or electric field, and then removing the aligned SWNTs from suspension in such a way as to assemble them while maintaining the alignment.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Using Iron To Treat Chlorohydrocarbon Contaminated Soil

Prompt chemical remediation is followed by longer-term enhanced bioremediation. A method of in situ remediation of soil contaminated with chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents involves injection of nanometer-size iron particles. This method should not be confused with a similar method, involving injection of emulsified iron particles, reported in “Treatment To Destroy Chlorohydrocarbon Liquids in the Ground” (KSC-12246), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 27, No. 6 (June 2003), page 56. Like that method, this method is implemented in a process that is safe, yields environmentally benign end products, takes less time and costs less than do traditional pump-and-treat processes, and is both less expensive and less environmentally disruptive than are cleanup processes that involve excavation, trans-port to facilities for incineration or other treatment, and reburial in landfills.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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New Material for Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

Reproducible measurements can be made quickly,without preparation of samples. A chemical method of synthesis and application of coating materials that are especially suitable for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)has been developed.The purpose of this development is to facilitate the utilization of the inherently high sensitivity of SERS to detect chemicals of interest (analytes) in trace amounts, without need for lengthy sample preparation.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Treated Carbon Nanofibers for Storing Energy in Aqueous KOH

Treatment can increase specific capacitance by as much as 400 percent. A surface treatment has been found to enhance the performances of carbon nanofibers as electrode materials for electrochemical capacitors in which aqueous solutions of potassium hydroxide are used as the electrolytes. In the treatment, sulfonic acid groups are attached to edge plane sites on carbon atoms.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Nanocarpets for Trapping Microscopic Particles

Properties of nanocarpets can be tailored for selective trapping. Nanocarpets — that is, carpets of carbon nanotubes — are undergoing development as means of trapping microscopic particles for scientific analysis. Examples of such particles include inorganic particles, pollen, bacteria, and spores. Nanocarpets can be characterized as scaled-down versions of ordinary macroscopic floor carpets, which trap dust and other particulate matter, albeit not purposefully. Nanocarpets can also be characterized as mimicking both the structure and the particle-trapping behavior of ciliated lung epithelia, the carbon nanotubes being analogous to cilia (see figure).

Posted in: Materials, Briefs, TSP

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