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
Nano-Ceramic Coated Plastics

Plastic products, due to their durability, safety, and low manufacturing cost, are now rapidly replacing cookware items traditionally made of glass and ceramics. Despite this trend, some still prefer relatively expensive and more fragile ceramic/glassware because plastics can deteriorate over time after exposure to...

Briefs: Materials
Preparation of a Bimetal Using Mechanical Alloying for Environmental or Industrial Use

Following the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act ban on their manufacture, PCBs remain an environmental threat. PCBs are known to bio-accumulate and concentrate in fatty tissues. Further complications arise from the potential for contamination of commercial...

Briefs: Materials
Phase Change Material for Temperature Control of Imager or Sounder on GOES Type Satellites in GEO

An imager or sounder on satellites, such as the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES), in geostationary orbit (GEO) has a scan mirror and motor in the scan cavity. The GEO orbit is 24 hours long. During part of the orbit, direct...

Briefs: Materials
Self-Healing Nanocomposites for Reusable Composite Cryotanks

Composite cryotanks, or composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), offer advantages over currently used aluminum- lithium cryotanks, particularly with respect to weight savings. Future NASA missions are expected to use COPVs in spaceflight propellant tanks to store fuels,...

Briefs: Materials
Ceramic Adhesive and Methods for On-Orbit Repair of Re-Entry Vehicles

This adhesive is capable of repairing damaged leading edge components of re-entry vehicles while in space, and is novel with regard to its ability to be applied in the vacuum of space, and in a microgravity environment. Once applied, the adhesive provides thermal and oxidation...

Briefs: Materials
Aerogel-Based Multilayer Insulation With Micrometeoroid Protection

Ultra-low-density, highly hydrophobic, fiber-reinforced aerogel material integrated with MLI (aluminized Mylar reflectors and B4A Dacron separators) offers a highly effective insulation package by providing unsurpassed thermal performance and significant robustness, delivering...

Briefs: Materials
Pt-Ni and Pt-Co Catalyst Synthesis Route for Fuel Cell Applications

Oxygen reduction reactions (ORRs) at the cathode are the rate-limiting step in fuel cell performance. The ORR is 100 times slower than the corresponding hydrogen oxidation at the anode. Speeding up the reaction at the cathode will improve fuel cell efficiency.

Briefs: Materials
Multi-scale CNT-Based Reinforcing Polymer Matrix Composites for Lightweight Structures

Reinforcing critical areas in carbon polymer matrix composites (PMCs), also known as fiber reinforced composites (FRCs), is advantageous for structural durability. Since carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have extremely high tensile strength, they can be used as a...

Briefs: Materials
Manufacturing of Nanocomposite Carbon Fibers and Composite Cylinders

Pitch-based nanocomposite carbon fibers were prepared with various percentages of carbon nanofibers (CNFs), and the fibers were used for manufacturing composite structures. Experimental results show that these nanocomposite carbon fibers exhibit improved structural and...

Briefs: Materials
Regenerable Sorbent for CO2 Removal

A durable, high-capacity regenerable sorbent can remove CO2 from the breathing loop under a Martian atmosphere. The system design allows nearambient temperature operation, needs only a small temperature swing, and sorbent regeneration takes place at or above 8 torr, eliminating the potential for...

Briefs: Materials
Li-Ion Electrolytes With Improved Safety and Tolerance to High-Voltage Systems

Given that lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology is the most viable rechargeable energy storage device for near-term applications, effort has been devoted to improving the safety characteristics of this system. Therefore, extensive effort has been devoted to developing...

Briefs: Materials
Composite Aerogel Multifoil Protective Shielding

New technologies are needed to survive the temperatures, radiation, and hypervelocity particles that exploration spacecraft encounter. Multilayer insulations (MLIs) have been used on many spacecraft as thermal insulation. Other materials and composites have been used as micrometeorite shielding or...

Briefs: Materials
Polymer-Reinforced, Non-Brittle, Lightweight Cryogenic Insulation

The primary application for cryogenic insulating foams will be fuel tank applications for fueling systems. It is crucial for this insulation to be incorporated into systems that survive vacuum and terrestrial environments. It is hypothesized that by forming an open-cell...

Briefs: Materials
Sprayable Aerogel Bead Compositions With High Shear Flow Resistance and High Thermal Insulation Value

A sprayable aerogel insulation has been developed that has good mechanical integrity and lower thermal conductivity than incumbent polyurethane spray-on foam insulation, at similar or lower areal densities, to prevent insulation cracking and...

Briefs: Materials
Controlled, Site-Specific Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes With Diazonium Salts

This work uses existing technologies to prepare a crossbar architecture of nanotubes, wherein one nanotube is fixed to a substrate, and a second nanotube is suspended a finite distance above. Both nanotubes can be individually addressed electrically. Application...

Briefs: Materials
A Nanostructured Composites Thermal Switch Controls Internal and External Short Circuit in Lithium Ion Batteries

A document discusses a thin layer of composite material, made from nano scale particles of nickel and Teflon, placed within a battery cell as a layer within the anode and/or the cathode. There it conducts electrons at room...

Briefs: Materials
Non-Toxic, Non-Flammable, –80 ºC Phase Change Materials

The objective of this effort was to develop a non-toxic, non-flammable, –80 °C phase change material (PCM) to be used in NASA’s ICEPAC capsules for biological sample preservation in flight to and from Earth orbit. A temperature of about –68 °C or lower is a critical temperature...

Briefs: Materials
Soft-Bake Purification of SWCNTs Produced by Pulsed Laser Vaporization

The “soft-bake” method is a simple and reliable initial purification step first proposed by researchers at Rice University for single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) produced by high-pressure carbon mon - oxide disproportionation (HiPco). Softbaking consists of annealing...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Wide Operating Temperature Range of Li-Ion Cells

Future NASA missions aimed at exploring the Moon, Mars, and the outer planets require rechargeable batteries that can operate over a wide temperature range (–60 to +60 ºC) to satisfy the requirements of various applications including landers, rovers, penetrators, CEV, CLV, etc. This...

Briefs: Materials
High-Temperature, Lightweight, Self- Healing Ceramic Composites for Aircraft Engine Applications

The use of reliable, high-temperature, lightweight materials in the manufacture of aircraft engines is expected to result in lower fossil and biofuel consumption, thereby leading to cost savings and lower carbon emissions due to air travel. Although...

Briefs: Materials
Treatment to Control Adhesion of Silicone-Based Elastomers

Seals are used to facilitate the joining of two items, usually temporarily. At some point in the future, it is expected that the items will need to be separated. This innovation enables control of the adhesive properties of silicone-based elastomers. The innovation may also be effective...

Briefs: Materials
High-Temperature Adhesives for Thermally Stable Aero-Assist Technologies

Aero-assist technologies are used to control the velocity of exploration vehicles (EVs) when entering Earth or other planetary atmospheres. Since entry of EVs in planetary atmospheres results in significant heating, thermally stable aero-assist technologies are required to...

Briefs: Materials
Using Pre-Melted Phase Change Material to Keep Payloads in Space Warm for Hours Without Power

Adding phase change material (PCM) to a mission payload can maintain its temperature above the cold survival limit, without power, for several hours in space. For the International Space Station, PCM is melted by heaters just prior to the payload...

Briefs: Materials
Fibrillar Adhesive for Climbing Robots

A climbing robot needs to use its adhesive patches over and over again as it scales a slope. Replacing the adhesive at each step is generally impractical. If the adhesive or attachment mechanism cannot be used repeatedly, then the robot must carry an extra load of this adhesive to apply a fresh layer with...

Briefs: Materials
Transformers: Shape-Changing Space Systems Built With Robotic Textiles

Prior approaches to transformer-like robots had only very limited success. They suffer from lack of reliability, ability to integrate large surfaces, and very modest change in overall shape. Robots can now be built from two-dimensional (2D) layers of robotic fabric. This...

Briefs: Materials
Adjusting Permittivity by Blending Varying Ratios of SWNTs

A new composite material of singlewalled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) displays radio frequency (0 to 1 GHz) permittivity properties that can be adjusted based upon the nanotube composition. When varying ratios of raw to functionalized SWNTs are blended into the silicone elastomer matrix at a...

Briefs: Materials
Polyolefin-Based Aerogels

An organic polybutadiene (PB) rubber-based aerogel insulation material was developed that will provide superior thermal insulation and inherent radiation protection, exhibiting the flexibility, resiliency, toughness, and durability typical of the parent polymer, yet with the low density and superior insulation...

Briefs: Materials
An Integrated, Layered-Spinel Composite Cathode for Energy Storage Applications

At low operating temperatures, commercially available electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries do not fully meet the energy and power requirements for NASA’s exploration activities. The composite cathode under development is projected to provide the required...

Briefs: Materials
Engineered Multifunctional Surfaces for Fluid Handling

Designs incorporating variations in capillary geometry and hydrophilic and/or antibacterial surface properties have been developed that are capable of passive gas/liquid separation and passive water flow. These designs can incorporate capillary grooves and/or surfaces arranged to create...

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