Special Coverage

Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Temperature-Regulating Fabrics Keep Babies Comfortable

Materials designed for spacesuits now regulate heat in baby clothes and blankets.

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Materials, Human factors, Infants, Thermal management, Fabrics

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 review, Lightweight materials, Durability

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, Spacecraft

Simulating Material Migration

Accurately tracking and predicting the subsurface migration of specific materials over time and over multiple phases is critical to efficient and effective strategy development and deployment in a growing number of applications. STOMP (Sub surface Transport Over Multiple Phases) is a general-purpose tool that provides multidimensional analysis of subsurface flow and reactive transport phenomena. It was originally designed to support environmental remediation of subsurfaces contaminated with volatile organic compounds and/or radioactive material.

Posted in: Articles, Materials, Simulation Software, Computer simulation, Materials properties

Primer Stops Corrosion Without Requiring Rust Removal

Coating used on launch pads protects bridges, condominiums, and other structures from corrosion.

In the mid-1990s, Surtreat Holding LLC, based in Pittsburgh, PA, developed two corrosion inhibitors that worked by chemical means, and were designed to be applied to the surface of concrete, where they would migrate to the steel rebar inside. By 1996, the formulas still had not been formally tested and validated.

Posted in: Articles, Coatings & Adhesives, Air transportation facilities, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Corrosion, Iron

New Material Increases Lifetime of Solar-Powered Electrons

Nobody wants a laptop computer that stops working when a cloud passes by. Storing sunlight as fuel that can be later used to drive fuel cells requires new materials. Scientists demonstrated just such a material by combining two oxides on the atomic scale.

Posted in: Articles, News, Energy, Energy Storage, Materials

Reducing Interconnection Weight in Autosports

In Formula 1 and other autosports, weight reduction is critical to competitive advantage. A few grams saved here and a few more saved there can add up to significant savings. There is also a move toward high-density packaging of electronics parts. As the electronics content of cars increases, the natural drive is to miniaturize the package to gain maximum efficiency in the use of space.

Posted in: Articles, Electronic Components, Electronics, Composites, Fiber Optics, Connectors and terminals, Electric cables, Composite materials, Lightweighting, Motorsports

Researcher Spotlight: Atom­Thick Material Offers 2D Imaging Possibilities

Rice University scientists have developed a two-­dimensional, atom­-thick, light-­sensitive material called CIS, a single­-layer matrix of copper, indium, and selenium atoms. Sidong Lei, a graduate student, also built a prototype — a three-­pixel charge­-coupled device (CCD) sensor — to prove the material’s ability to capture an image. The optoelectronic memory material may be the basis for future flat imaging devices and two­-dimensional electronics.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Materials, Sensors, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Product development, Nanomaterials

Customizing Visual 3D Optical Coatings

There are many ways to coat an optic and optimize the coating for a specific application, some more interesting than others. But any thin film coating process requires raw materials, coating capabilities, deposition chamber(s), coating software, a spectrophotometer, and an efficient production system that can produce the desired coating or effect while keeping within the customer’s requisite specifications. This article will focus on the challenge of customizing a non-polarizing cube beamsplitter for a 3D visual application and detail the steps taken to make this challenge a reality.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Optics, Photonics, Optics, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Glass

Products of Tomorrow: January 2015

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Techs for License, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Sensors, Aircraft structures, Design processes, Sensors and actuators, Polymers

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