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

Wearable biosensors for health monitoring lack a lightweight, long-lasting power supply. A new method was developed for making a charge-storing system that is easily integrated into...

Briefs: Transportation

Growing demand for electric vehicles and more sustainable forms of transport means finding new forms of energy storage such as batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells. Currently, a major...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Plastic-Degrading Enzyme

Eight million metric tons of plastic waste, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, enter the oceans each year, creating huge manmade islands of garbage. Experts estimate that by 2050, there will be as much waste plastic in the ocean by mass as there are fish. A bacterium, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, can...

Briefs: Nanotechnology

NASA Langley Research Center has developed new methods for fabricating hollow nanoparticles using dendrimer molecules. Dendrimers are used as templates to control the size, stability, and solubility...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Many applications in science and industry require an apparatus that creates a controlled amount of a fluid introduced into another fluid. For instance, some material corrosion testing applications...

Briefs: Materials

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method in which a metal matrix composite (MMC) material is incorporated into a metallic structure during a one-step...

Briefs: Materials

A heat-rejecting film was developed that could be applied to a building’s windows to reflect up to 70 percent of the Sun’s incoming heat. The film remains highly transparent...

Briefs: Imaging

Along with intensity and color, polarization is a property of light that can provide useful information for scene analysis; however, the human eye and most cameras cannot detect...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

From cellphones to satellites, industry spends millions on traditional gold alloy electrical contact coatings. While gold and other metal alloys have been an industry standard to protect metal components...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Transparent Test Patch Determines Food Contamination

A transparent test patch, printed with harmless molecules, signals food contamination as it happens. The patch can be incorporated directly into food packaging, where it can monitor the contents for harmful pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. The new technology has the potential to...

Briefs: Imaging

The mechanical properties of sheet metal materials are directional. Their deformation behavior and their strength differ significantly depending on the viewing direction; for example, in the direction of rolling, or...

Briefs: Energy
Measurement Technique for Continuous-Wave, Modulated, and Pulsed Monochromatic Radiation

In many applications, such as remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases, monochromatic radiation with multiple discrete wavelengths is required. To date, there no instrument or technique that measures the wavelength jitters and fluctuations in real time.

Briefs: Medical

Titanium is as strong as steel but about twice as light. These properties depend on the way a metal’s atoms are stacked but random defects that arise in the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Healing, Fluid-Inspired Material

Even tiny cracks can cause bridges to collapse, pipelines to rupture, and fuselages to detach from airplanes due to hard-to-detect corrosion in tiny cracks, scratches, and dents. A new coating strategy for metal self-heals within seconds when scratched, scraped, or cracked. The novel material could prevent...

Briefs: Materials

Optical range measurements, already used in manufacturing and other fields, may help overcome practical challenges posed by structural fires, which are too hot to measure with conventional...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Many devices use light to probe the quantum states of atoms in a vapor confined in a small cell. Atoms can be highly sensitive to external conditions, and therefore make superb detectors....

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Multi-Purpose, Flexible Wing Structure for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

Small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as micro air vehicles, are promising tools for a variety of military and commercial applications. Some small UAS have flexible wings and are lightweight, making them back-packable and easy to deploy. Most UAS that are...

Briefs: Aerospace

Heat shields are essentially used as the brakes to stop spacecraft from burning up and crashing on entry and reentry into a planet's atmosphere. Current spacecraft heat shield methods include...

Briefs: Materials

A team of researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and NYU Center for Neural Science has solved a longstanding puzzle of how to build ultra-sensitive, ultra-small, electrochemical...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a new approach for designing aircraft liner cores for noise reduction. The cores are comprised of multiple honeycomb-shaped chambers,...

Briefs: Imaging

Researchers have developed an imaging technique that uses a tiny, super sharp needle to nudge a single nanoparticle into different orientations and capture 2-D images to help...

Briefs: Aerospace

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a method that introduces solids and particulates — specifically aerogels — into composites or...

Briefs: Imaging

It's hard to get an X-ray image of low-density material like tissue between bones because X-rays just pass right through like sunlight through a window. Sandia studies myriads of low-density materials,...

Briefs: Materials
Composite Advances Lignin as Renewable 3D Printing Material

Lignin is the material left over from the processing of biomass. It gives plants rigidity and also makes biomass resistant to being broken down into useful products. Researchers combined a melt-stable hardwood lignin with conventional plastic, a low-melting nylon, and carbon fiber to...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

To keep up with Moore's Law — an observation made in the 1960s that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles about every two years — researchers...

Briefs: Materials

Most electronics only function within a certain temperature range but blending two organic materials together creates electronics that withstand extreme heat. The new plastic material could reliably conduct...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Traditional methods, such as reverse osmosis, that remove contaminants from water are expensive and energy-intensive. Researchers have developed technology to remove contaminants from water,...

Briefs: Materials

Titanium is as strong as steel but about twice as light. These properties depend on the way a metal's atoms are stacked, but random defects that arise in the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A customizable nanomaterial was developed that combines metallic strength with a foam-like ability to compress and spring back. The material can store and release mechanical energy on the nanoscale, and...

Videos