Materials & Coatings

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

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
These polymers can combine thermal and optically fixable shape memory.
Briefs: Materials
Squid skin inspires a new material with heat-regulating properties.
Briefs: Materials
When combined with saltwater, rust can be a source of electricity.
Briefs: Energy
This technology has applications in sonar, range measuring, directional-force sensors, flow meters, and vibration/noise sensing and control.
Briefs: Automotive
The device could impact composites manufacturing and health monitoring.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Stronger and flexible, polyimide aerogels provide insulation and structural support.
Briefs: Energy
This lightweight material brings strength and durability to complex shapes.
Briefs: Internet of Things
RFID-based devices work in indoor and outdoor lighting conditions and could transmit data for years before they need to be replaced.
Briefs: Test & Measurement

Undercooled metal technology was developed that features liquid metal (in this case, Field's metal, an alloy of bismuth, indium, and tin) trapped below its melting point in polished,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

A process was developed for producing oxide perovskite crystals in flexible, free-standing layers. A two-dimensional rendition of this substance is intriguing because 2D materials have been shown to...

Briefs: Materials

Researchers have created a motion-powered, fireproof sensor that can track the movements of firefighters, steelworkers, miners, and others who work in high-risk environments where they cannot always be seen....

Briefs: Motion Control

A perception system for soft robots was developed that is inspired by the way humans process information about their own bodies in space and in relation to other objects and people. The system includes a...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are employed to locate cancerous tumors and aid in the development of treatment plans, while nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) machines are used to...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material. The fibers consist of a gallium metal core...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

To investigate oceans, researchers aim to build a submerged network of interconnected sensors that sends data to the surface. Supplying constant power to scores of sensors designed to stay for long...

Briefs: Materials
Smart Electronic Skin for Robots and Prosthetics

Humans use the sense of touch to accomplish almost every daily task such as picking up a cup of coffee or shaking someone’s hand. Without it, humans can even lose their sense of balance when walking. Similarly, robots need to have a sense of touch in order to interact better with humans but...

Briefs: Nanotechnology

By mimicking the outer coating of pearls (nacre or mother of pearl), researchers created a lightweight plastic that is 14 times stronger and eight times lighter (less dense) than steel. It could...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Researchers have developed a formula that enables them to recreate different levels of perceived softness. Based on the results from their experiments, they created equations that can calculate how...

Briefs: Nanotechnology

A method was developed to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices to report on what they perceive. Electronically active 2D materials, touted for their strength, are difficult to move to...

Briefs: Wearables

A transistor has been made from linen thread, enabling the creation of electronic devices made entirely of thin threads that could be woven into fabric, worn on the skin, or...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Engineers at the University of Illinois have found a way to redirect misfit light waves to reduce energy loss during optical data transmission. In a study,...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

High quality camera performance on mobile devices has proven to be one of the features that most end-users aim for. The importance of optical image quality improvement and the trend to have thinner and thinner...

Briefs: Imaging
A new imaging method extracts a color image from a single exposure of light scattered through a mostly opaque material.
Briefs: Automotive

UCLA engineers have made major improvements on their design of an optical neural network — a device inspired by how the human brain works — that can identify objects or process...

Briefs: Materials
Chip Converts Wasted Heat to Usable Energy

Car engines, laptop computers, cellphones, and refrigerators all heat up with overuse. That heat can be captured and turned into energy using a method that produces electricity from heat. The technology uses a silicon chip, also known as a “device,” that converts more thermal radiation into...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

3D printers that build small parts layer by layer from melted plastic can take up to an hour to produce a pocket-sized piece. This process is far too slow for the mass-production of...

Briefs: Materials

Excess heat given off by smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices contributes to malfunctions and, in extreme cases, can even cause lithium batteries to explode. To guard...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Materials with controlled porosity have found diverse applications in separation, catalysis, energy storage, sensors and actuators, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. Multiple...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

A method was developed that enables information to be contained in simple plastic foils with a thickness of less than 50 μm, which is thinner than a human hair. Organic luminescent molecules...

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