Materials & Coatings

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

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Briefs: Nanotechnology
A promising, more durable fuel cell design could help transform heavy-duty trucking and other clean fuel cell applications.
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Briefs: Energy
When it comes to making batteries that last longer, a team of researchers including engineers at Brown University and Idaho National Laboratory believes the key might be in how things get clean — specifically how soap works in this process.
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Briefs: Materials
Many electric vehicles are powered by batteries that contain cobalt — a metal that carries high financial, environmental, and social costs. MIT researchers have now designed a battery material that could offer a more sustainable way to power electric cars. The new lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery includes a cathode based on organic materials, instead of cobalt or nickel (another metal often used in Li-ion batteries).
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Briefs: Energy
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have invented and patented a new cathode material that replaces lithium ions with sodium and would be significantly cheaper.
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Briefs: Materials
New Solid-State Battery Design Charges in Minutes
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a new lithium metal battery that can be charged and discharged at least 6,000 times — more than any other pouch battery cell — and can be recharged in a matter of minutes.
Briefs: Materials
Inspired by a small and slow snail, scientists have developed a robot prototype that may one day scoop up microplastics from the surfaces of oceans, seas, and lakes.
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Briefs: Imaging
Robots and cameras of the future could be made of liquid crystals, thanks to a new discovery that significantly expands the potential of the chemicals already common in computer displays and digital watches. The findings are a simple and inexpensive way to manipulate the molecular properties of liquid crystals with light exposure.
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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Reporting on their work in the proceedings of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, the mini-bug weighs in at eight milligrams, while the water strider weighs 55 milligrams. Both can move at about six millimeters a second.
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Briefs: Energy
Inventors from NASA Langley and NASA Ames have created a new type of carbon fiber polymer composite that has a high thermal conductivity.
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Briefs: Materials
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a conductive polymer coating — called HOS-PFM — that could enable longer lasting, more powerful lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for electric vehicles.
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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Recognizing the need for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) to support long-duration human missions to the Moon and Mars, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Sidus Space have developed a novel three-dimensional print head apparatus using regolith-polymer mixtures as a building material.
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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have created software and hardware for a 4D printer with applications in the biomedical field.
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Briefs: Wearables
Taking inspiration from origami, MIT engineers have now designed a medical patch that can be folded around minimally invasive surgical tools and delivered through airways, intestines, and other narrow spaces, to patch up internal injuries.
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Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A technique enables manufacturing of minuscule robots by interlocking multiple materials in a complex way.
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Briefs: Physical Sciences
The nanoscale electronic parts in devices like smartphones are solid, static objects that once designed and built cannot transform into anything else. But a team from University of California Irvine has reported the discovery of nanoscale devices that can transform into many different shapes and sizes even though they exist in solid states.
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Briefs: Materials
The miniscule wires — the size of transistors on silicon chips or one thousandth of the breadth of the finest human hair — are made completely of natural amino acids and heme molecules, found in proteins such as hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in red blood cells.
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Briefs: Design
Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed electronic “stickers” that measure the force exerted by one object upon another. The force stickers are wireless, run without batteries and fit in tight spaces. That makes them versatile for a wide range of applications.
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Briefs: Software
Inventors at the NASA Langley Research Center have developed a novel method to model and ingest point-wise process data to evaluate an additive manufacturing build and its file for issues by highlighting potential anomalies or other areas where the build may have issues with fusion of the material.
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Briefs: Materials
An international team of researchers reports on a compact high-brightness mid-IR-driven source combining a gas-filled anti-resonant-ring photonic crystal fiber with a novel nonlinear-crystal. The tabletop source provides a seven-octave coherent spectrum from 340 nm–40,000 nm with spectral brightness 2–5 orders of magnitude higher than one of the brightest synchrotron facilities.
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Briefs: Software
Using kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of folding and cutting paper, MIT researchers have now manufactured a type of high-performance architected material known as a plate lattice, on a much larger scale than scientists have previously been able to achieve by additive fabrication.
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Briefs: Materials
A new method for metal 3D printing aims to make more efficient use of resources by allowing structural modifications to be “programmed” into metal alloys during 3D printing, fine-tuning their properties without the “heating and beating” process that’s been in use for thousands of years.
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Briefs: Materials
NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a simplified, tool-less automated tow/tape placement (ATP) system. This invention enables several benefits that mitigate limitations associated with conventional ATP systems. Read on to learn more.
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Briefs: Materials
Scientists at the Columbia University, University of Connecticut, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory were able to fabricate a pure form of glass and coat specialized pieces of DNA with it to create a material that was not only stronger than steel, but incredibly lightweight.
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Briefs: Materials
A series of buzzing “loop-currents” could explain a recently discovered, never-before-seen phenomenon in a type of quantum material. The quantum material is known by the chemical formula Mn 3Si2Te6, but it’s safe to call it “honeycomb.” Read on to learn more.
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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Developed by a team led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a self-assembling nanosheet could significantly extend the shelf life of consumer products. And because the new material is recyclable, it could also enable a sustainable manufacturing approach that keeps single-use packaging and electronics out of landfills.
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Briefs: Materials
Researchers have unveiled a remarkable new material with potential to impact the world of material science: amorphous silicon carbide (a-SiC). Beyond its exceptional strength, this material demonstrates mechanical properties crucial for vibration isolation on a microchip. It is therefore particularly suitable for making ultra-sensitive microchip sensors.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have developed an autonomous, or self-driving, microscopy technique. It uses AI to selectively target points of interest for scanning. Read on to learn more.
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Briefs: Energy
A research team from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory reports that the flow battery, a design optimized for electrical grid energy storage, maintained its capacity to store and release energy for more than a year of continuous charge and discharge.
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Briefs: Energy
A team from Chalmers University of Technology has succeeded in observing how the lithium metal in the cell behaves as it charges and discharges. The new method may contribute to batteries with higher capacity and increased safety in our future cars and devices.
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Webcasts

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On-Demand Webinars: Test & Measurement

Building an Automotive EMC Test Plan

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Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

The Moon and Beyond from a Thermal Perspective

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Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

How Artificial Intelligence Is Empowering Warehouse Automation

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Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Intro to 3D Printing Solutions: Low-Risk Manufacturing Investments

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Webinars: Software

Electromagnetic Heating Simulation – Emerging Medical...

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Upcoming Webinars: Software

Mastering Software Complexity in Automotive: Is Release Possible...

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