Materials & Manufacturing

Browse innovative developments in materials and manufacturing that significantly impact military, medical devices, automotive, and industrial manufacturing. Advances in plastics, metals, and composites are transforming 3D printing and rapid prototyping.

JPL's Microfluidic Electrospray Propulsion (MEP) thruster design is based on a microfabricated electrospray system with a capillary-force-driven feed system that uses...

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the...

Historically, high-strength materials have been heavy and dense. The need for high-strength but lightweight materials has become more widespread when designing everything from vehicles and...

News: Materials
'Tougher-than-Metal' Hydrogels Support New Biomaterials

Scientists from Japan's Hokkaido University have created tough hydrogels combined with woven fiber fabric. The "fiber-reinforced soft composite" fabrics are highly flexible, stronger than metals, and can support a number of potential applications, including artificial ligaments and tendons...

Engineers and scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and the AMOLF institute in the Netherlands have invented mechanical metamaterials that transfer motion in one direction...

Five-axis machine tools are computer-numerically controlled (CNC) machines that can move, cut, or mill a part on five different axes at the same time. Because of inherent...

News: Materials
Light-Absorbent Material Keeps Buildings Cool

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have created a thin, flexible, light-absorbing material that absorbs more than 87 percent of near-infrared light. The technology could someday support the development of solar cells; transparent window coatings to keep cars and buildings cool; and...

Gears play an essential role in precision robotics, and they can become a limiting factor when the robots must perform in space missions. In particular, the extreme temperatures of deep space pose...

NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) seeks to license its Multidimensional Damage Detection System for Flat Surfaces technology. The ability to detect damage to composite surfaces can be crucial,...

Briefs: Materials
Methods for Intercalating and Exfoliating Hexagonal Boron Nitride

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a number of materials and methods to optimize the performance of nanomaterials by making them tougher, more resistant, and easier to process. Glenn's scientists are generating critical improvements at all stages of...

Briefs: Materials
Method for Fabricating Diamond-Dispersed, Fiber-Reinforced Composite Coating onLow-Temperature Sliding Thrust Bearing Interfaces

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a method for fabricating a fiber-reinforced diamond composite coating on the surfaces of sliding thrust bearings at low and cryogenic temperatures....

Briefs: Materials
Enhanced Composite Damping Through Engineered Interfaces

Material damping is important in the design of structures as it limits vibration amplitudes, increases fatigue life, and affects impact resistance. This is particularly true for composite materials, which are currently used extensively in applications that experience frequent dynamic...

NASA's Langley Research Center is developing an innovative self-healing resin that automatically reacts to mechanical stimuli. Current structural materials are not self-healing, making it necessary to...

Briefs: Materials
Methodology for the Effective Stabilization of Tin-Oxide-Based Oxidation/ReductionCatalysts

NASA Langley researchers, in work spanning more than a decade, have developed a portfolio of technologies for low-temperature gas catalysis. Originally developed to support space-based CO2 lasers, the technology has evolved into an...

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

The objective of this project was to develop inexpensive structural cryogenic insulation foam that has increased impact resistance for launch and ground-based cryogenic systems. Two parallel approaches were used: a silica-polymer co-foaming...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Use of Beam Deflection to Control an Electron Beam Wire Deposition Process

NASA Langley Research Center researchers have a strong technology foundation in the use of electron-beam (e-beam) deposition for freeform fabrication of complex shaped metal parts. While e-beam wire deposition is of interest for rapid prototyping of metal parts,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thermal Stir Welding Process

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is developing an improved joining technology called thermal stir welding that improves upon fusion welding and friction stir welding. This new technology enables a superior joining method by allowing manufacturers to join dissimilar materials and to weld at high rates. NASA's...

NASA'S Langley Research Center has developed a new adhesively bonded joint concept for curved and flat panel sandwich...

Human susceptibility to the harsh space radiation environment has been identified as a major hurdle for exploration beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO)....

Human-occupied vehicles and autonomous vehicles such as rovers and landers may benefit from the fuel flexibility and high energy density of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs),...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Tool Designs for Friction Stir Welding

Friction stir welding (FSW) is a solidstate welding process that shows promise in the aerospace industry. A new system of experimentation has been used to quickly make and screen new tool designs. After conducting a literature review, friction stir tools were designed to optimize material flow around the...

NASA has investigated and demonstrated the simultaneous production of methane (CH4)...

Question of the Week: Materials
Will metallic hydrogen improve transportation?

This week's Question: Today's lead INSIDER story featured the development of metallic hydrogen, a technology that has a range of potential applications, from advanced rocket propellants to room-temperature superconductors. According to the Harvard University researchers, the material could support...

News: Materials
Researchers Create Metallic Hydrogen

Nearly a century after it was theorized, scientists from Harvard University have created the first-ever sample of one of the rarest materials on the planet: metallic hydrogen. The atomic metallic hydrogen has a potentially wide range of applications, including as a room-temperature superconductor.

News: Materials
Researchers Awaken Graphene's Hidden Superconductivity

Since its discovery in 2004, scientists have believed that graphene contained an innate ability to superconduct. Now researchers from the University of Cambridge have found a way to activate that previously dormant potential, enabling the material to carry an electrical current with zero...

A University of California, Riverside assistant professor has combined photosynthesis and physics to make a key discovery that could help make solar cells more efficient. Nathan Gabor is focused on...

Products: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: January 2017

HP, Palo Alto, CA, unveiled the HP Z2 Mini Workstation designed for users in CAD and other compute-intensive industries. The workstation is 2.3” high, and 90% smaller than a traditional business-class...

News: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers Spin Artificial Spider Silk

Researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Karolinska Institutet has, step by step, developed a way of "spinning" artificial spider silk.

News: Materials
Researchers Design Lightweight, 'Stronger-Than-Steel' Material

A team of engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has successfully designed a new 3D material with five percent the density of steel and ten times the strength. By compressing and fusing flakes of graphene, a two-dimensional form of carbon, the sponge-link...

Videos