Manufacturing & Prototyping

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

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Auto-Zero Differential Amplifier

Engineers in the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Instrument Electronics Development Branch have developed a chopper-stabilized auto-zero amplifier capable of amplifying signals with extremely small amplitude originating from a thermopile-based infrared (IR) sensor. The instrument is self-adjusting in that it...

Briefs: Materials

Large-scale liquid rocket engines with regeneratively cooled nozzles will enable reliable and reduced-cost access to space. The coolant that circulates through the internal...

Briefs: Materials
Freeform Fabrication Using Electrically Conductive Filaments

The use of multifunctional composites such as mechanically reinforced, electrically and thermally conductive parts is of interest in a range of application areas. Especially interesting and important is where tailorability of function is achieved by strategic placement of materials...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Printing Ink Removes Oxygen in Sealed Packages

Oxygen adversely impacts food flavor and nutrition. NASA’s proposed five-year shelf life for astronaut food requires aggressive measures to minimize oxygen. Previously, NASA packaged foods in containers with a high oxygen and moisture barrier. These materials have limiting properties. They contain...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Soft robots inspired by nature can crawl, swim, grasp delicate objects, and even assist a beating heart, but none of them has been able to sense and respond to the...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Surface-Field-Enhanced Detection of Deep UV Photons in Silicon Carbide Avalanche Photodetectors

While silicon carbide (SiC) is an ideal material for building ultraviolet (UV) photodetectors, the absorbed photons get recombined in the first few nanometers at the surface due to a large absorption coefficient in the 200- to 250-nm wavelength band....

Briefs: Medical

This technology uses extracts produced from yeast transformed with a new anti-UV DNA construct to block ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Two-photon lithography (TPL), a high-resolution 3D printing technique, is capable of producing nanoscale features smaller than 1/100 the width of a human hair. The technique could enable X-ray...

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: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Scientists around the world are working on new technologies for the nanofactories of the future, which one day could be used to analyze biochemical samples or produce active medical agents. The required...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Because of their high precision and speed, Delta robots are deployed in many industrial processes, including pick-and-place assemblies, machining, and welding. Delta...

Briefs: Motion Control

A technique was developed to prevent cross-coupling in systems where two or more linear electromechanical actuators (EMAs) are rigidly connected, and are in danger of...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

In 3D printing — also known as additive manufacturing — an object is built layer-by-layer, allowing for the creation of structures that would be impossible to manufacture by...

Briefs: Energy

Most electronic devices have glass or plastic covers that protect against dust, moisture, and other environmental contaminants, but light reflection from these surfaces can make...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A new way to treat wood makes it 12 times stronger than natural wood and ten times tougher. The wood substance could be comparable to steel or titanium alloys; it is also comparable to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Every complex human tool has contained multiple materials wedged, tied, screwed, glued, or soldered together. But the next generation of tools, from autonomous squishy robots to flexible...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a test station capable of in-situ testing of material deposition and layer adhesion in an extrusion additive manufacturing process. The technology addresses the problem of...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

High-speed images of a common laser-based metal 3D printing process, coupled with newly updated computer models, have revealed the mechanisms behind material redistribution, a phenomenon that...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is building a small CubeSat that uses an 85-m2 solar sail deployed from a central location to capture the push of photons...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Green Approach for Toughening Thermosetting Reactive Resins

Thermosetting reactive resin systems such as epoxy, bismaleimide, and polyimide classes of material are brittle. The origin of brittleness is attributed to the high crosslinking density that exists in the fully cured forms of these materials. Traditionally, the toughness of these resins...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

NASA is preparing for the next generation of CubeSats that are propelled and will make directional maneuvers. The new gimbal mount provides a seat for the motor, and controls the position of the...

Briefs: Medical

Currently, most 3D-printed organ models are made using hard plastics or rubbers. This limits their application for accurate prediction and replication of the organ’s physical...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Flexible, Water-Repellent Graphene Circuits for Washable Electronics

New graphene printing technology can produce electronic circuits that are low-cost, flexible, highly conductive, and water-repellent. Low-cost, inkjet-printed graphene can be tuned with a laser to make functional materials.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Algorithm Boosts Speed of 3D Printers

A major drawback to 3D printing is the slow pace of the process, which ensures details are reproduced accurately. The pace of 3D printing is one of the factors that has prevented the technology from finding a broader audience. A new algorithm was developed that boosts the speed at which the printers...

Briefs: Imaging
Additive Manufacturing Unique Serialization

Current methods of identifying a unique part involve adding a unique serial number to the part. There are many reasons that manufactured parts receive a serial number. They enable traceability of a part throughout its lifecycle, and ensure the part is not a counterfeit; however, labels and stamped...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Supercapacitors can store and deliver energy faster than conventional batteries. But to realize advanced applications, supercapacitors need better electrodes, which connect the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Method of Fabricating Ultra-Short-Gate-Length Thin-Film Transistors Using Optical Lithography

The speed of thin-film transistors (TFTs) relates directly to their gate length, which must be kept as short as possible to lower electron transport time between electrodes, and improve its high-frequency response characteristics. Since current density...

Briefs: Materials

Corrosion of structural materials is a serious problem for industrial and civil infrastructure worldwide, costing billions of dollars, and hampering gross domestic product. Corrosion also presents...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

While 3D printing has found applications in many areas, its use as a way to control chemical reactions, or catalysis, is relatively new. Current production of 3D catalysts typically involves various methods...

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