Special Coverage

Self-Healing Wire Insulation
Thermomechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Response
Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams
High Field Superconducting Magnets
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method
Strat-X
Sonar Inspection Robot System
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Triple Orthogonal Disk Polymer Discrete Space for Cryogenic Feedline Insulation

A new material provides a superior, robust insulation for cryogenic feed lines. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio NASA vehicles using cryogenic propellants and systems need improved cryogenic storage and transfer, including insulation for cryogenic transfer/feed lines. Wrapped multi-layer insulation (WMLI) is an innovative, next-generation, high-performance multilayer insulation designed specifically for cryogenic plumbing systems. WMLI uses Quest Thermal Group’s Discrete Spacer Technology to precisely control layer spacing, layer density, and minimize system heat flux. A customized discrete spacer, the Triple Orthogonal Disk (TOD) spacer, was designed, micromolded, and tested, and provides significantly lower heat leak than current state-of-the-art MLI insulation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials

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Compliant Electrode and Composite Materials for Piezoelectric Wind and Mechanical Energy Conversion

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Thin film, piezoelectric materials generate a small voltage whenever they are deformed, suggesting that they are suitable for tapping energy from freely available resources, such as the wind. Yet their low-energy production levels and lack of electrode durability have hampered development. NASA researchers have invented a system, method, and device for improving the performance and increasing the lifespan of small-form-factor, thin-film electrode, piezoelectric devices capable of interacting with the wind to provide power to wearable devices and stretchable electronics.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Development of a Novel, Regenerable Microlith Catalytic Reactor for CO2 Reduction via Bosch Process

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Utilization of CO2 to produce life support consumables, such as water and oxygen, offers a potential advance for NASA’s cabin atmosphere revitalization system and in-situ resources utilization concepts for long-term manned space missions. Toward this goal, the innovators at Precision Combustion, Inc. have investigated the use of catalysts supported on patented short-contact-time Microlith® substrates for CO2 reduction via Bosch process. These catalytic substrates enabled faster reaction rates, higher CO2 conversion, and a reduced recycle penalty. Further improvements in size, volume, and weight are projected by splitting the chemistry of the Bosch process into two separate reactors: a reverse water-gas-shift (RWGS) reactor, and a carbon formation reactor (CFR). Carbon formation would be accomplished via the hydrogenation and/or Boudouard reactions. In this two-stage configuration, the operating conditions can be individually optimized to maximize CO2 conversion as well as the water and carbon production rates. The feasibility study, which included performance testing at various operating conditions, and durability testing were successfully demonstrated.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials

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Self-Healing Spacecraft Material Plugs Holes in Seconds

Although shields and sophisticated maneuvers could help protect space structures, scientists have to prepare for the possibility that debris could pierce a vessel. NASA and a team from the University of Michigan developed a new material that heals itself within seconds and could prevent structural penetration from being catastrophic.

Posted in: News, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials

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'Snap' Design Mimics Venus Flytrap

A team led by physicist Christian Santangelo at the University of Massachusetts Amherst uses curved creases to give thin shells a fast, programmable snapping motion. The technique – inspired by the natural "snapping systems" like Venus flytrap leaves and hummingbird beaks – avoids the need for complicated materials and fabrication methods when creating structures with fast dynamics.

Posted in: News, Materials, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components

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Parylene Solves Biocompatibility and Reliability Challenges Facing Designers

Designers and manufacturers over a broad industry spectrum often seek key competitive advantages through the use of conformal coatings to preserve or enhance one or more key properties or functions. These desired functions may be electrical and barrier protection, dry film lubricity, stabilization of delicate microstructures, biocompatibility, antimicrobial features or a combination of one or more of these properties. Advances in technology have driven many part sizes and complexities beyond the capabilities of many traditional conformal coatings.

Posted in: Webinars, On-Demand Webinars, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials

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Advanced Thermal Management Solutions: Heat Pipes, Pumped Systems and Thermal Storage

How They Work and When They Should be Used This Webinar will discuss principles of the major thermal management solutions being implemented today. We will review the fundamentals of heat pipes, pumped liquid systems, pumped two phase systems and thermal storage. Basic heat transfer equations will be presented and explained for each.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials

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