Tech Briefs

Materials & Manufacturing

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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: Energy
Researchers from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin recently created the first ever solid-state optical nanomotor.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A novel turbine blade design and manufacturing approach developed by NASA provides a significant reduction in turbine blade resonant vibration.
Briefs: Energy
Energy Storage Materials Make Batteries More Efficient and Heat-Resistant
In redox flow batteries, the energy-storing components are dissolved in a solvent and can be stored at a decentralized location.
Briefs: Materials
This invention is a method of removing or adsorbing a target substance or material.
Briefs: Energy
Researchers have developed an inexpensive and eco-friendly steam generator to desalinate and purify water using sunlight.
Briefs: Materials
The system makes it possible to integrate data from prior experiments, and information based on personal observations by experienced workers, into the machine learning process.
Briefs: Design
Lithium-ion batteries are currently the preferred technology for powering electric vehicles, but they’re too expensive for long-duration grid-scale energy storage systems.
Briefs: Design
Over the course of their research, the team discovered that these anthraquinones decompose slowly over time, regardless of how many times the battery has been used.
Briefs: Power
In batteries, electrolyte is the circulating “blood” that keeps the energy flowing. The electrolyte forms by dissolving salts in solvents, resulting in charged ions that flow between the positive and negative electrodes.
Briefs: Lighting
Tests showed the metalens they made could focus its 197-nanometer output onto a spot measuring 1.7 microns in diameter, increasing the power density of the light output by 21 times.
Briefs: Lighting Technology
Plasmonics is a technology that essentially traps the energy of light in groups of electrons oscillating together on a metal surface.
Briefs: Aerospace
An experimental plant-based jet fuel could increase engine performance and efficiency, while dispensing with aromatics, the pollution-causing compounds found in conventional fuels.
Briefs: Materials
Applications include a smart fabric for exoskeletons, an adaptive cast that adjusts its stiffness as an injury heals, or a deployable bridge that could be unrolled and stiffened.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
The piezoelectric “meta-bot” is capable of propulsion, movement, sensing, and decision-making.
Briefs: Materials
A simple change to the surface of perovskite removes a barrier to its functionality.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Additional applications include defogging/defrosting, wearable devices, industrial heat systems, sensors, thermochromic displays, and microfluidic chips.
Briefs: Materials
The material remains effective as an energy harvester or sensor at temperatures to well above 572°F.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The process predicts when and where microscopic cracks will occur before they become catastrophic.
Briefs: Lighting Technology
This method increases the efficiency of light-emitting diodes and other optical elements.
Briefs: Materials
Hydrogen has emerged as an important carrier to store energy generated by renewable resources, as a substitute for fossil fuels used for transportation, in the production of ammonia, and for other industrial applications.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Researchers have discovered a single-molecule switch that can act like a transistor and store binary information such as the 1s and 0s used in classical computing. The molecule is around five...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Georgia Tech researchers have shown that robots about the size of a particle of dust are capable of precise bidirectional control. By harnessing the power of a magnetic field generated...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Computer processors have shrunk to nanometer scales over the years, with billions of transistors sitting on a single computer chip. While the increased number of transistors helps make...

Briefs: Materials

Engineers have added a new capability to electronic microchips: flight. About the size of a grain of sand, the new flying microchip (microflier) does not have a motor or engine. Instead, it...

Briefs: Materials

Scientists discovered a new platform for quantum technologies by suspending two-dimensional (2D) crystals over pores in a slab of gold. When heated, the metal reflows to form a porous structure...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

A new research focusing on topological control capabilities in an integrated acoustic-electronic system at technologically relevant frequencies could pave the way for additional research...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Light-emitting diode (LED)-based communications techniques allow computing devices, including cellphones, to communicate with one another using infrared light. However, LED...

Briefs: Materials

The Modular Artificial-Gravity Orbital Refinery Spacecraft (MAGORS) is a technology from NASA Ames Research Center for in-situ refining or recycling of materials in space, including mass...

Briefs: Software

The automation of additive manufacturing (AM) is limited and usually still requires human labor workflows, including the fundamental step of removing the finished object from the printer...

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