Tech Briefs

Materials & Manufacturing

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on materials and manufacturing, from engineering experts at NASA and government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Latest Tech Briefs

Briefs : Materials
Multi-Purpose, Flexible Wing Structure for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

Small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as micro air vehicles, are promising tools for a variety of military and commercial applications. Some small UAS have flexible wings and are lightweight, making them back-packable and easy to deploy. Most UAS that are...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Interoperable Intelligent Controllers for Process Management and Control Networks

NASA Johnson Space Center developed reprogrammable and interchangeable electronic controllers that can attach to a system or subsystem wirelessly or through plug-and-play capability. Originally designed to work with rocket engines, this technology can control...

Briefs : Materials
Delamination and Porosity in Composites and Adhesives Using Solid and Particulate Powdered Aerogel

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a method that introduces solids and particulates — specifically aerogels — into composites or...

Briefs : Materials
“Metallic Wood” Has the Strength of Titanium and the Density of Water

Titanium is as strong as steel but about twice as light. These properties depend on the way a metal's atoms are stacked, but random defects that arise in the...

Briefs : Materials
Composite Advances Lignin as Renewable 3D Printing Material

Lignin is the material left over from the processing of biomass. It gives plants rigidity and also makes biomass resistant to being broken down into useful products. Researchers combined a melt-stable hardwood lignin with conventional plastic, a low-melting nylon, and carbon fiber to...

Briefs : Materials
Nanoscale Pillars Act as Memory Foam

A customizable nanomaterial was developed that combines metallic strength with a foam-like ability to compress and spring back. The material can store and release mechanical energy on the nanoscale, and...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Electronics Withstand Extreme Heat

Most electronics only function within a certain temperature range but blending two organic materials together creates electronics that withstand extreme heat. The new plastic material could reliably conduct...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Artificial Intelligence Device Identifies Objects at the Speed of Light

Numerous devices in everyday life use computerized cameras to identify objects — think of automated teller machines that can “read” handwritten dollar amounts when...

Briefs : Software
Interactive Software Simplifies Complex Mold Design

Molding is a popular method for the mass production of objects. Essentially, two (or more) mold pieces are fit together, leaving the shape of the desired object as a hole. During...

Briefs : Lighting
Single-Crystal SiGe/Sapphire Epitaxy

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a new low-temperature method of SiGe/sapphire growth that produces the same single-crystal films with much less thermal loading effort to the substrate. This eliminates the time-consuming and costly high heating, long thermal soak times, and interfacial Si layer....

Briefs : Materials
Capacitive Pressure Sensor System and Packaging

Pressure sensors play an important role in engine maintenance and monitoring systems by diagnosing problems before they happen. To capture the most accurate data, however, these sensors must be...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Scalable Manufacturing Process for Creating Spools of Graphene

For many researchers, graphene is ideal for use in filtration membranes. A single sheet of graphene resembles atomically thin chicken wire, and is composed of carbon atoms joined...

Briefs : Nanotechnology
Film Blocks Electromagnetic Interference

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can harm smartphones, tablets, chips, drones, wearables, aircraft, and human health. EMI is increasing with the explosive proliferation of devices that generate it. A technique was developed to produce relatively low-cost EMI-blocking composite films.

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Printing Technology Uses Sound Waves to Control Size of Liquid Droplets

Liquid droplets are used in many applications, from printing ink on paper to creating microcapsules for drug delivery. Inkjet printing is the most common technique used...

Briefs : Nanotechnology
Ultrathin, Ultralight “Nanocardboard” Recovers Shape After Bending

When choosing materials to make something, tradeoffs need to be made among properties such as thickness, stiffness, and weight. A new material called nanocardboard was...

Briefs : Aerospace
Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) 370 Resin for High-Temperature Applications

RTM370 imide resin was developed to address the limitations of conventional imide resins, which are generated from commercially available symmetrical biphenyl...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Manufacturing Technique Helps Inkjet Printers Deliver Ink More Evenly

When a coffee mug leaves a ring, the outer edges of that ring are darker than the inside of the ring. That's because the solute is separated from the liquid during the...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Micro-Robot Climbs on Vertical and Upside-Down Conductive Surfaces

Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take more than a month per engine. Many components are located deep...

Briefs : Materials
Material Removes Ice Buildup Without Power or Chemicals

From airplane wings, to overhead power lines, to the giant blades of wind turbines, a buildup of ice can cause problems ranging from impaired performance all the way to catastrophic...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Method Increases Adhesive Properties of Silicone

Geckos, spiders, and beetles have special adhesive elements on their feet, enabling them to easily run along ceilings or walls. The science of bionics tries to imitate and control such...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Thermal-Compensating Optics Housing

Existing optics mounts sandwich the optic axially between two metal components, which can lead to optical surface damage and misalignment when exposed to fluctuating temperatures. Thermal-compensating...

Briefs : Nanotechnology
Self-Powering Sensor Using a Nano-Energy Harvester

Existing nanosensor technologies depend on an external power source (typically a battery) to operate. Chemical and biological sensors based on nanowire or nanotube technologies exhibit...

Briefs : Medical
Portable, Wearable, Ultrasound Transducer

Researchers have developed a new ultrasound transducer that could dramatically lower the cost of ultrasound scanners to as little as $100. Conventional ultrasound scanners use piezoelectric crystals...

Briefs : Imaging
Computed Tomography Inspection Applications in Additive Manufacturing

The ability of additive manufacturing to manage small volumes, create complex designs, and fabricate lightweight but strong structures makes it a natural fit for aerospace...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Large-Volume Extruder for 3D Printers

A low-cost 3D bioprinter was built by modifying a standard desktop 3D printer with a syringe-based, large volume extruder (LVE). The extruder works with most open-source fused deposition modeling (FDM)...

Briefs : Medical
3D Printer Creates Complex Biological Tissues

A technique was developed that uses a specially adapted 3D printer to build therapeutic biomaterials from multiple materials. The advance could be a step toward on-demand printing of complex...

Technology Leaders

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

CNC Machining: How to Reduce Costs and Accelerate Production

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Testing and Inspecting 3D-Printed Parts

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Aerospace

Advanced Quality Planning and Production Part Approval Process...

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

How to Avoid PCB Re-spins when IC’s Change or are Obsoleted

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive

Non-Contact Strain and Displacements Measurements in the Automotive Industry