Keyword: Smart materials

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

With very little fanfare, a special class of alloys has been finding its way into our daily lives. From indestructible eyewear, to smartphone cameras, to coronary stents, this material is...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Polymer-Based 2D-to-3D Transformable Surfaces

Technologies using stretchable materials are increasingly important. Yet, in general, it is not possible to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons. A method was developed that allows the calculated transformation of 2D stretchable surfaces into targeted 3D...

Briefs: Energy
Fabric Converts Kinetic Energy into Electric Power

A fabric was developed that converts kinetic energy into electric power. The greater the load applied to the textile and the wetter it becomes, the more electricity it generates. The woven fabric generates electricity when it is stretched or exposed to pressure. The fabric can currently generate...

Briefs: Data Acquisition

Piezoelectric materials, which generate an electric current when compressed or stretched, are familiar and widely used; for example, lighters that spark when a switch is...

Briefs: Materials

A “4D printing” method was developed for a smart gel that could lead to the development of living structures in human organs and tissues, soft robots, and targeted drug delivery.

Briefs: Materials

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) have the unique ability to recover large deformations in response to thermal, mechanical, and/or magnetic stimuli. This behavior occurs by virtue of a crystallo-graphically...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed an adaptable and powerful interferometric test platform that uniquely enables multi-parameter evaluation of a wide variety of smart...

Briefs: Aerospace

Flaps can significantly alter wing aerodynamics for high lift generation. Conventional flaps are mainly deployed for takeoff and landing, but are not suitable for in-cruise flight. It is widely speculated...

Who's Who: Materials

Dr. Santo Padula has developed testing techniques to support the development of advanced materials like metallic foams and shape memory alloys (SMAs)....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bulk Separation and Manipulation of Carbon Nanotubes by Type

The utility of this invention is to extract metals (semi-metals) or semiconductors from bulk nanotube samples. The bulk material is a mixture of the two. These materials can then be used to clone a particular type of nanotube, place a particular type in a device, generate smart...

Application Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Fiber reinforced polymer composites are revolutionizing the design of large, high-performance structures in the aerospace, marine and power generation industries due to their...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Fiber reinforced polymer composites are revolutionizing the design of large, high-performance structures in the aerospace, marine and power generation industries due to their...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

In a recently invented class of piezoelectric diaphragm pumps, the electrode patterns on the piezoelectric diaphragms are configured so that the electric fields in the diaphragms have...

Articles: Medical

Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) is a new class of surgical procedures in which the operation is performed with surgical instruments inserted through small incisions in the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Intelligent fasteners with embedded microprocessors remotely controlled by wireless tools or a data network can advance the speed, flexibility, flow, and cost...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

A class of lightweight, deployable, thin-shell, curved mirrors with built-in precise-shape-control actuators is being developed for high-resolution scientific imaging. This technology incorporates a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Lightweight, Self-Deployable Wheels

Ultra-lightweight, self-deployable wheels made of polymer foams have been demonstrated. These wheels are an addition to the roster of cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) structural applications. Intended originally for use on nanorovers (very small planetary-exploration robotic vehicles), CHEM wheels could...

Briefs: Materials
Cold Hibernated Elastic Memory (CHEM) Expandable Structures

Experiments have confirmed the feasibility of a new class of lightweight, reliable, simple, and low-cost expandable structures. The concept called "cold hibernated elastic memory" (CHEM) utilizes the shape memory polymers (SMPs) in open cellular structures. Basically, these structures...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Shape-Memory-Alloy Thermal-Conduction Switches

Variable-thermal-conduction devices containing shape-memory-alloy (SMA) actuators have been proposed for use in situations in which it is desired to switch on (or increase) thermal conduction when temperatures rise above specified values and to switch off (or decrease) thermal conduction when...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A mathematical model that includes layerwise finite elements has been developed for use in numerical simulation of the coupled electrical, mechanical, and thermal responses of...

Briefs: Materials
Muscle Wires for Planetary-Exploration Robots

A report proposes the use of muscle wires as mechanical actuators for planetary-exploration robots. Muscle wires are commercially available in kit form in the hobby market, and have been described (though not explicitly called "muscle wires") in previous articles in NASA Tech Briefs. A muscle wire...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A generic actuator has been designed to amplify the piezoelectric effect. The Bidirectional Operating Actuator (BOA) amplifies the stroke of a piezoelectric element and reorients it through a kinematic...