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

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: Materials

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...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

3D printing via direct laser writing involves a computer-controlled focused laser beam that acts as a pen and creates the desired structure in the printer ink — a photoresist. In this...

Briefs: Transportation

An advanced manufacturing process was developed to produce nano-structured rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powder in a single step. Using a Solid Phase Processing...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Researchers have 3D-printed an all-liquid device that, with the click of a button, can be repeatedly reconfigured on demand to serve a wide range of applications from making battery materials to screening drug...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

For decades, microchip transistors have become smaller, faster, and cheaper; however, miniaturization has reached a natural limit, as completely new problems arise when a length scale of only a...

Briefs: Materials

In the wake of recent developments that have reduced fan and jet noise contributions to overall jet-engine noise, aircraft designers are turning their attention toward reducing engine core...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An automated system designs and 3D-prints complex robotic parts that are optimized according to an enormous number of specifications. The system fabricates actuators — devices that mechanically...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of organs and tissues in the human body, helping doctors diagnose potential problems or diseases. Doctors use MRI to...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Different instruments are needed to study the interaction of contact surfaces at different length scales. Tribometers measure the coefficient of friction but they...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

At the scale of bridges or buildings, the most important force that engineered structures need to deal with is gravity. But at the scale of microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) — devices like...

Briefs: Energy
Low-Cost Thermoelectric Material Works at Room Temperature

The widespread adoption of thermoelectric devices that can directly convert electricity into thermal energy for cooling and heating has been hindered, in part, by the lack of materials that are both inexpensive and highly efficient at room temperature. A new material was developed that...

Briefs: Aerospace

Landing is stressful on a rocket’s legs because they must handle the force from the impact with the landing pad. One way to combat this is to build legs out of materials that absorb some of...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs

Some organic materials cannot be utilized similarly to silicon semiconductors in optoelectronics. Whether in solar cells, light-emitting diodes, or in transistors, what is important is the bandgap, i.e....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) materials with superlative properties have the potential to advance semiconductors but creating 2D devices with both good electrical contacts and...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Unlike water, liquid refrigerants and other fluids that have a low surface tension spread quickly into a sheet when they come into contact with a surface. For many industrial...

Briefs: Materials

While different approaches have been used to create artificial muscles — including hydraulic systems, servomotors, shape-memory metals, and polymers that respond to stimuli — they all have limitations such...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An electrochemical sensing system that significantly improves the ability to rapidly and accurately detect heavy metals in biological and environmental samples was developed. Using a simple blood...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

A 3D-printed polymer-based foam structure was developed that responds to the force of a shock wave to act as a oneway switch, a long sought-after goal in shock research. The...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Graphene Field Effect Transistors for Radiation Detection (GFET-RS)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed novel transistor technology based on a single graphene layer coupled to a radiation absorber substrate. Unlike conventional charge-sensing detectors, the GFET-RS utilizes the sensitive dependence of graphene conductance on local change...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Adding fluoride to water has been common practice in a number of countries including the U.S. In low concentrations (below 1.5 mg/L), fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Material for Faster Computer Memory

Scientists are studying bismuth ferrite (BFO) material that has the potential to store information much more efficiently than is currently possible. BFO could also be used in sensors, transducers, and other electronics.

Briefs: Propulsion

Microrobots that can deliver drugs to specific spots inside the body while being monitored and controlled from outside the body have been developed that also can treat tumors in the...

Briefs: Materials

Researchers have created 3D-printed flexible mesh structures that can be controlled with applied magnetic fields while floating on water. The structures can grab small objects and carry water droplets, giving them...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Conventional pistons are made of a rigid chamber and a piston inside that can slide along the chamber’s inner wall while at the same time maintaining a tight seal. As a result, the piston...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Smart objects are required to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power. Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that...

Briefs: Materials

When light gets scattered as it passes through a translucent material, the emerging pattern of “speckle” looks as random as static on a television screen with no signal. But it...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing

Organic semiconductors (OSCs) have emerged as a new class of electronic materials promising a wide range of applications including organic field-effect transistors...

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