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.

To improve a flying vehicle, sometimes you have to turn to a reliable model that has been operating for hundreds of millions of years.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Would you use color-changing 3D printables?

In today’s INSIDER, MIT researcher Professor Stefanie Mueller said that her laboratory’s color-changing 3D printables support new customizable objects and accessories, as well as opportunities for product designers showing off their prototypes.

Professor Stefanie Mueller and fellow researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) are exploring a more efficient way to cut down on print jobs: objects that change color.

Beyond the slopes, creators of a moisture-managing, sweat-getting ski jacket envision new places for the “electrified” apparel.

An electrically-driven demolition probe originally funded by NASA enables a more precise, quieter fracturing method that its creators hope will give construction workers on...

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Shape-Morphing Materials Add 4th Dimension to 3D Printing

3D printing uses computer control to fuse layers of polymers or powders into a three-dimensional object. Rutgers University researchers found a way to add to a fourth dimension –...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Would you wear a moisture-managing ski jacket?

Today's INSIDER featured an electronic textile technology designed to keep skiers warm and dry. What do you think? Would you wear a moisture-managing ski jacket?

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Algorithm Boosts Speed of 3D Printers

A major drawback to 3D printing is the slow pace of the process, which ensures details are reproduced accurately. The pace of 3D printing is one of the factors that has prevented the technology from finding a broader audience. A new algorithm was developed that boosts the speed at which the printers...

Briefs: Imaging
Additive Manufacturing Unique Serialization

Current methods of identifying a unique part involve adding a unique serial number to the part. There are many reasons that manufactured parts receive a serial number. They enable traceability of a part throughout its lifecycle, and ensure the part is not a counterfeit; however, labels and stamped...

Supercapacitors can store and deliver energy faster than conventional batteries. But to realize advanced applications, supercapacitors need better electrodes, which connect the...

Briefs: Aerospace
Method of Fabricating Ultra-Short-Gate-Length Thin-Film Transistors Using Optical Lithography

The speed of thin-film transistors (TFTs) relates directly to their gate length, which must be kept as short as possible to lower electron transport time between electrodes, and improve its high-frequency response characteristics. Since current density...

Corrosion of structural materials is a serious problem for industrial and civil infrastructure worldwide, costing billions of dollars, and hampering gross domestic product. Corrosion also presents...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
One-Step 3D Printing of Catalysts

While 3D printing has found applications in many areas, its use as a way to control chemical reactions, or catalysis, is relatively new. Current production of 3D catalysts typically involves various methods...

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Conductive, High-Toughness Oxides Deposited by Plasma Spray-Physical Vapor Deposition (PS-PVD)

Oxide coatings deposited in Glenn Research Center's Plasma Spray-Physical Vapor Deposition (PS-PVD) facility can be processed to be mechanically tough (erosion-resistant) and electrically conductive at room temperature. The electrically conductive...

The wide variety of industrial applications each independently calls for a level of robustness from the physical (PHY) layer, all the way up to applications. Time...

Using 3D printers, researchers have created a metamaterial from cubic building blocks that responds to compression forces by a rotation. Usually, this can only be...

Briefs: Energy
Cryo-Fluid Capacitor (CFC) for Solid-State Storage and Supply-on-Demand of Cryogenic Fluids

Storage and transfer of fluid commodities such as oxygen, hydrogen, natural gas, nitrogen, argon, etc. are absolute necessities in virtually every industry. These fluids are typically contained in one of two ways: as low-pressure cryogenic liquids, or as...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Ultra-Strong, Lightweight, Elastic, Electrically Conductive Carbon

The configuration of carbon's electrons allows for numerous self-bonding combinations that give rise to a range of materials with varying properties. For example, transparent, super-hard diamonds and opaque graphite, which is used for both pencils and industrial lubricant, are...

Carbon aerogels (CAs) are nano-porous carbons comprising a particularly significant class of carbon nano-materials for a variety of sustainable energy applications. Carbon aerogels are...

Current gas mask filters counter current threats, but there are large gaps in knowledge about how they do so at the molecular level. Many of the filters were developed to handle a wide...

Briefs: Materials
Interlaminar Strengthening Concepts for Polymer Matrix Composites

During the last few decades, one of the most prevalent issues associated with the performance of aerospace composite materials has revolved around low interlaminar mechanical properties. The innovations described in this work outline a number of new and improved techniques for...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Optical Method for Detecting Displacements and Strains at Ultra-High Temperatures During Thermo-Mechanical Testing

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed an optical method for detecting displacements and strains at ultra-high temperatures during thermo-mechanical testing. This innovation will provide displacement and strain measurements in...

Using flexible conducting polymers and novel circuitry patterns printed on paper, researchers in Dr. Yee’s laboratory have demonstrated...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Solid-State Humidity Sensing Element

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a solid-state humidity sensing element that offers ultra-high sensitivity across a wide range of humidity levels. The sensing element is...

Conductive thread — embroidery thread that can carry an electrical current — often is combined with other types of electronics to create fabric that lights up or communicates. This...

Briefs: Energy
Superalloy Surface Treatment for Improved Performance of Power Turbines

To produce power more efficiently and cleanly, the next generation of power turbines will have to operate at extreme temperatures and pressures. Currently, single-crystal, nickel-based superalloys are used in such extreme environments. MCrAlY coatings (where M = Co, Ni, or...

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a solid-state ultracapacitor with a unique combination of high capacitance and battery-like discharge characteristics. The high capacitance in...

News: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electropolishing Solutions for the Medical Industry

As a critical component in patient healthcare, medical device manufacturing is highly regulated and requires the utmost attention to sanitation, safety, and biocompatibility. Used both...

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