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.

Physicists at the University of California, Riverside have developed a photodetector by combining two distinct inorganic materials and producing quantum mechanical...

A reversible fabric from Stanford University could warm up or cool down its wearers, depending on their preference – and which side of the material faces...

iSoft, a new type of soft and stretchable sensor, is capable of sensing in real time, and can perform “multimodal” sensing of stimuli such as continuous contact and stretching in all...

New plastics are helping automotive manufacturers reduce the weight of their vehicles. But how do thermoset composites stack up against traditional metals? A Tech Briefs reader asks our automotive expert.
INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Electric ‘Smart’ Paper Picks Up on Pipe Leaks

Although spills inside a lab can often spell trouble, a University of Washington scientist found a way to turn an accidentally doused conductive material into an inventive new sensor. The lab...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will 'read-ahead' algorithms speed up 3D printing?

Our featured INSIDER story today showcased algorithms that allow 3D printers to anticipate motion and "read ahead" of its programming. The Michigan State University readers believe that the faster, more precise builds will allow 3D printers to create products twice as fast.

Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thinking Ahead with 3D Printing: Five Technologies to Watch

A 3D printer's moving parts can lead to vibrations and a flawed final product. Engineers at the University of Michigan anticipated the problem — and now, thanks to their algorithms, machines can do the same.

Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Injection Molding Service Saves Time and Money for Spring Manufacturer
Proto Labs
Maple Plain, MN
www.protolabs.com

As products get smaller, their components need to follow suit, and springs are no exception. In a variety of...

Thin film gas sensors are small, lightweight, and relatively easy to operate; however, the testing of these thin film gas sensors is difficult in harsh...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Diffusion-Bonded CVC SiC for Large UVOIR Telescope Mirrors and Structures

In 2012, the National Research Council called for a new generation of astronomical telescopes to enable discovery of habitable planets, facilitate advances in solar physics, and enable the study of faint structures around bright objects by developing high-contrast imaging...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Forging Graphene into Three-Dimensional Shapes

Graphene is a relative to graphite, which consists of millions of layers of graphene, and can be found in common pencil tips. Since graphene was isolated in 2004, researchers have learned to...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Optofluidic 3D Printing

Optofluidic three-dimensional printing enables advancements and innovation in optical fibers and biomedical devices. This 3D printing approach uses axial plane optical microscopy (APOM) technology.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed a foam-rigidized, inflatable, tubular space boom that can be transported, deployed, and inflated at remote locations. The lightweight...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Interim, In-Situ Additive Manufacturing Inspection

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a novel method for interim, in-situ dimensional inspection of additively manufactured parts. Additive manufacturing...

Dr. Zheng and her team of scientists from Berkeley Lab and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore made metal-organic spongy photocatalysts that convert carbon dioxide...

Looking to nature for inspiration, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Northeastern University have used carbon nanotubes to mimic the...

Electronics design is often limited by the shape of the battery – a critical, but frequently uncompromising product component. A new kind of battery conforms to meet the...

In the galaxy NGC 4993, located approximately 130 million light-years from Earth, two neutron stars collided. And, for the first time, scientists detected...

Conformal coatings like Parylene protect a variety of components, including LEDs, sensors, and circuit card assemblies. If a board component needs to be replaced, however, how easily can the...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Rubber ‘Skin’ Senses Temperatures. What’s Next?

A rubber “skin” developed at the University of Houston allows a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold temperatures. The semiconductor material supports new...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will "print-and-go" structures lead to printable robots?

As seen in this week's Tech Briefs TV video, MIT researchers envision many possibilities for devices that self-fold without external stimuli.

Briefs: Materials
Absorbent Polymer Reinforcing Fiber

Absorbent polymers can be used, for instance, to absorb hydrocarbons from an aqueous medium such as the absorption of oil from water. In some configurations, conventional absorbent polymers are contained within a permeable material; for example, conventional spill “socks” and booms can hold an absorbent...

Briefs: Materials
TiBor Skin Composite Coatings

TiBor Skin is a two-part technology that creates toughened, corrosion- and wear-resistant composite structures. The technology consists of coatings or surface materials for application on metals, plus methods of applying these materials. It also provides methods of integrating the applied coatings with their...

Briefs: Materials
Customizable Recyclable Launch Packaging

NASA is developing a sustainable in-space manufacturing ecosystem by providing both the capability to create 3D printer filament from currently used packaging material as well as the development of new, high-performance packaging architectures created with materials that are well suited for use in 3D...

Briefs: Materials
Self-Lubricating Hard Coatings for Extreme Environments

NASA’ s space goals include a permanent presence on the Moon and an expedition to Mars. The success of habitats and vehicles on the Moon and Mars — and ultimately, of the human exploration of and permanent human presence on the Moon and Mars — is critically dependent on the correct...

Briefs: Materials
Self-Healing, Self-Lubricating Tribofilm

Tribologists have developed a diamond-like film that is generated by the heat and pressure of an automotive engine. The ultra-durable, self-lubricating tribofilm — a film that forms between moving surfaces — can be made to develop self-healing, diamondlike carbon (DLC) tribofilms. The film generates...

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a functionally graded metal-metal composite structure. The structure is created using a method that avoids deleterious reactions between the...

Question of the Week: Energy
Will we drive on piezoelectric highways?

Today's lead INSIDER story showcased efforts from Lancaster University to create road-ready piezoelectric tiles. The electricity generated from the ceramics (and the vehicles driving over them) could someday be used to power street lamps and traffic lights.

Researchers from Lancaster University are looking to pave the next generation of smart road surfaces — with piezoelectric ceramics. When embedded in road surfaces, the tiles...

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