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: Materials

NASA has developed a class of low-density, flexible ablators that can be fabricated into heat-shields capable of being packaged, stowed, and deployed in space. The key characteristics of this new...

Briefs: Materials
Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC)

The Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC) allows for much more affordable and sustainable operations involving Space Launch Services and other systems that utilize Earth re-entry vehicles. TUFROC has an exposed surface design and...

Briefs: Materials
Catalytic Oxidation of Organic Contaminants at Reduced Pressure

The current technology for catalytic oxidation of aqueous organic contaminants at elevated temperature and pressure works well at operating conditions of 265 °F and 70 psia with effluent TOCs (total organic carbon) of less than 0.5 ppm. However, it does not perform well at the...

Briefs: Materials
Approach for Achieving Flame Retardancy While Retaining Physical Properties in a Compatible Polymer Matrix

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) seeks to license its Advanced Fire Retardant Materials to industry. KSC’s scientists have developed processes and know-how to impart fire retardancy to common polymers such as nylons, polyesters, and...

Briefs: Materials

NASA-developed polyimide aerogels are 500 times stronger than conventional silica aerogels. The innovative aerogels represent a revolutionary advance over fragile silica...

Briefs: Materials

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a new technique to enable the preparation of metal/composite hybrid laminates, also known as fiber metal laminates (FML),...

Briefs: Materials
Method for Exfoliation of Hexagonal Boron Nitride

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method for exfoliating commercially available hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN) into nanosheets a few atomic layers thick. Currently, hBN has limited use because it is insoluble with limited dispersibility, despite hBN having excellent thermal...

Briefs: Materials

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method to consolidate carbon nanotube yarns and woven sheets and graphene sheets via the dehydration of sucrose. The resulting...

Briefs: Materials

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a technology that uses commercially available additive print manufacturing to add various levels of structural hierarchy to thin-film...

Briefs: Materials
Ultralow-Temperature-Operable Solid Propellant Binder

A unique binder was developed that exhibits a glass transition temperature of –100 °C, which is more than 50 °C lower than that of traditional HTPB (hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene) and CTPB (carboxyl-terminated polybutadiene) binders. This innovation would be a solid propellant that...

Briefs: Materials
Carbon Nanotube-Assisted Microwave Healing of Thermally Re-Mendable Composites

A method creates thermally healable composites using carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotube microwave heating provides a pathway to overcome issues associated with electrical resistive heating networks. Carbon nanotubes embedded within a thermally reversible polymer can be...

Briefs: Materials
Integrated Ceramic Matrix Composite-Carbon/Carbon Structures for Large Rocket Engine Nozzles and Nozzle Extensions

Low-cost access to space demands durable, cost-effective, efficient, and low-weight propulsion systems. Key components include boost and upper stage rocket engine nozzles and extensions. Nozzle material options include ablatives,...

Briefs: Materials
Aromatic Thermosetting coPolyester (ATSP) Composites for High-Temperature and Cryogenic Applications

Advanced composite materials processable by cost-effective manufacturing play an important role in developing lightweight structures for future space and planetary exploration missions. With the growing demand for improved performance in the...

Briefs: Materials
Aluminoborosilicate Supplement for Thermal Protection of a Re-entrant Vehicle

The Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Com posite (TUFROC) allows for much more affordable and sustainable operations involving Space Launch Services and other systems that utilize Earth reentry vehicles. TUFROC has an exposed surface design and...

Briefs: Materials
Processing and Manufacture of Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Syntactic Structural Cryogenic Insulator

Reducing the cost and weight of launch structures is essential to meeting NASA goals for reliable access to space. Currently, separate systems are used for structure and pressure containment, cryogenic insulation, and high-temperature insulation. One...

Briefs: Materials

NASA has developed a unique and robust multifunctional material called 3-Dimensional Multifunctional Ablative (3DMAT) Thermal Protection System (TPS) that meets both the structural and...

Briefs: Materials
Hierarchical Support for Nanocatalysts

This work focused on enhancing catalyst activity and durability by developing a method to control size, dispersion, and exposure. Existing nanocatalysts are typically fabricated in bulk or powder form. There are monolithic catalysts, but they rely on meso-porous materials as supports. Bulk nanocatalysts...

Briefs: Materials
Control of Carbon Nanotube Density and Tower Height in an Array

Use of arrays of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as an intermediary for transport of electrical particles (e.g., electrons) and/or transport of thermal energy from one body to another has grown. For example, a CNT array may be used for dissipation of thermal energy or accumulated electrical...

Briefs: Materials

In order to understand whether the ablation laser would cause chemical reactions within the trapped organic molecules during resonant laser ablation of water ice containing organic molecules, a...

Briefs: Materials
Colorimetric Indicator for Detection of AF-M315E

An easy and instant method of detection was needed for AF-M315E, a “green” propellant that produces very little vapor. This makes it hard to detect by smell or other active sensors.

Briefs: Materials
Oriented Nanofibers Embedded in a Polymer Matrix

A method of forming a composite of embedded nanofibers in a polymer matrix with a high degree of alignment has been created using a nanofiber continuous fiber (NCF) system. This innovation incorporates nanofibers in a plastic matrix forming agglomerates, and then uniformly distributes them by...

Briefs: Materials
Flexible, High-Temperature Polyimide/Urea Aerogels

Cross-linked silica-based aerogels with polymeric materials, as well as incorporating a flexible linkage into the underlying metal oxide, have been proven to improve strength and resilience over their native, or non-cross-linked, counterparts without adversely affecting porosity and density. In...

Briefs: Materials

Cryogenic fluid management (CFM) is a critical technical area that is needed for the successful development of future space exploration. A key challenge is the storability of LH2, LCH4, and...

Briefs: Materials

A starshade occulter is a large space structure whose shape is specially designed to produce a diffraction pattern in starlight that can aid a telescope in direct imaging of exoplanets. The diffraction pattern...

Briefs: Materials

An experimental study was conducted in conjunction with the research and development program at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) on thermal protection systems (TPS) for aerospace applications, a...

Briefs: Materials
AeroHeating Tools (AHT) Suite

This suite of computer programs, called “tools,” is used to calculate local flow angles over damage sites in the Shuttle Orbiter Thermal Protection System (TPS). It provides a quick and easy way to compute cross flow angles over points of interest on the Shuttle Orbiter TPS.

Briefs: Information Technology
EXOS Software

An improved version of EXOS software allows for the modeling of fabrics, mixtures, and porous materials, and also provides the ability to accept hex mesh geometries. The code employs a novel numerical method, a hybrid particle finite element approach, as well as particles and elements in tandem, each modeling distinct aspects of...

Briefs: Materials
Processing and Damage Tolerance of Continuous Carbon Fiber Composites Containing Puncture-Self-Healing Thermoplastic Matrix

The initiation and propagation of damage ultimately results in failure of aircraft structural components. Often, impact damage is difficult to identify in-service, and hence design of continuous carbon fiber reinforced...

Briefs: Materials
Advanced Supported Liquid Membranes for CO‚2 Control in EVA Applications

NASA has a clear need to develop new technology in support of its future goals, including missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the possible development of lunar outposts, and the eventual exploration of Mars. As these missions develop, it is anticipated that crew members will...

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