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.

Products: Materials
Laser Optics Coatings

Coated laser optics are used to optimize the characteristics of the emitted laser beam. However, losses are produced at each glass surface - thus the number of optics should be reduced to a minimum. Laser Components...

Researchers at Drexel University and Dalian University of Technology in China have chemically engineered a new, electrically conductive nanomaterial that is flexible enough to fold, but...

A new way of switching the magnetic properties of a material using just a small applied voltage, developed by researchers at MIT and collaborators elsewhere, could signal the...

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered exceptional properties in a garnet material that could enable development of...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process for Coating Substrates With Catalytic Materials

This invention relates to the process of coating substrates with one or more components to form a catalyst; specifically, the process of layering one or more catalytic components onto a honeycomb monolith to form a carbon monoxide oxidation that combines CO and O2 to form...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Portable Friction Stir Welding Machine

A preliminary design of a portable friction stir welding (FSW) machine for use in space has been developed. The in-space FSW machine takes the form of a handheld router tool that is historically used in woodworking applications. With the design of the in-space FSW machine, the FSW tool is directly connected...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Multimode, Fiber-Coupled, Tungsten Silicide, Superconducting Nanowire Single-Photon Detector Array

The superconducting nanowire single-photon detector (SNSPD) arrays created in this innovation were fabricated using a WSi nanowire process. A gold mirror layer is deposited on an oxidized silicon wafer, and amorphous-state WSi is sputtered from a...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sidewall Passivation of GaN Avalanche Photodiodes via Atomic Layer Deposition

The visible-blind detection of UV light has important applications in planetary imaging and spectroscopy, astronomy, communications, and defense-related imaging. Future instruments for imaging in the ultraviolet will require improvements in detector capabilities. An...

Researchers have developed new organic compounds characterized by higher modularity, stability, and efficiency that could be applicable for use in electronics or lighting. A...

Techs for License: Manufacturing & Prototyping
NASA's Hot 100 Technologies

NASA’s Technology Transfer Program is a true national asset. It brings together the space agency’s most capable problem-solvers with America’s brightest commercial and entrepreneurial leaders in partnerships...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
NASA's Hot 100 Technologies: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Variable Power Handheld Laser Torch

A handheld laser torch was designed for welding and brazing metals to repair hard-to-reach space shuttle engine nozzles. It incorporates various...

Stanford engineers have invented a wireless pressure sensor that has already been used to measure brain pressure in lab mice with brain injuries. The underlying technology has such...

Stanford engineers have invented a revolutionary coating material that can help cool buildings, even on sunny days, by radiating heat away from the buildings and sending it directly into...

Most of us cannot comprehend the task of building something to withstand temperatures over 4,000 °F, but NASA can. The space shuttles endured such temperatures when returning to...

Shape Memory Alloys

Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs) can be deformed at low temperature and recover their original shape upon heating. New alloys can operate up to ~300 °C, compared to ~80 °C...

News: Photonics/Optics
Researchers Measure Stress in 3D-Printed Metal Parts

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed an efficient method to measure residual stress in metal parts produced by powder-bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM).

The 3D-printing process produces metal parts layer by layer using a high-energy laser beam to fuse metal...

News: Robotics, Automation & Control
Microbot Muscles Self-Assemble and Flex

In a step toward robots smaller than a grain of sand, University of Michigan researchers have shown how chains of self-assembling particles could serve as electrically activated muscles in the tiny machines.

"We are inspired by ideas of microscopic robots," said Michael Solomon, a professor of chemical...

Particle physicists have a hard time identifying all the elementary particles created in their particle accelerators. But now researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have...

Scientists have developed a high‑resolution magnetic line camera to measure magnetic fields in real time. Field lines in magnetic systems such as generators or motors that are...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Design and Analysis of Metal-to-Composite Nozzle Extension Joints

Analysis, design, fabrication, and testing were performed to create a new joint design for potential use in attaching a domestically available carbon-carbon (C–C) nozzle extension to the turbine exhaust manifold of a J-2X engine. Various attachment methods were investigated for...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Modeling Laser Ablation and Plume Chemistry in a Boron Nitride Nanotube Production Rig

The future of manned and unmanned spaceflight and exploration depends on economical access to space through multifunctional, lightweight materials. Boron nitride nanotube (BNNT) composites offer distinct advantages for enhanced survivability during long-term...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Damage-Free Finishing of Silicon X-Ray Optics Using Magnetic Field-Assisted Finishing

Thin, segmented mirrors have been fabricated from monocrystalline silicon blocks. The material is economically viable, and is virtually free of internal stress because of its nearly perfect crystalline structure. The mirror surfaces will first be accurately...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Smart Crucibles and Heat Pipes

Near-net-shape vacuum plasma spray (VPS) forming techniques were developed to produce advanced components with internal features such as smart heat pipes and crucibles. The initial results demonstrated the ability to incorporate features such as channels and a porous layer within the wall of a smart crucible.

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Products of Tomorrow: November 2014

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
2014 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2014 Create the Future Design Contest – sponsored by COMSOL, Inc., Mouser Electronics, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) – recognized innovation in product design in seven categories: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive/Transportation, Consumer Products, Electronics,...

Michael Zach, Anirudha Sumant, and Jonathan Moritz
EChem Nanowires
Stevens Point, WI

NanoFab Lab … In a Box!™ is a shoebox-sized kit that allows high...

Epoxies are versatile polymer systems that are “go-to materials” for electrical, electronic, and microelectronic systems, especially in applications where outstanding electrical insulation...

News: Motion Control
Engineers Harvest and Print Parts for New Breed of Aircraft

Student interns and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center rapidly prototyped and redesigned aircraft using 3D-printed parts. The aircraft was custom-built by repurposing surplus Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). By lengthening the wings, the team was able to improve aerodynamic...

News: Energy
Solar Material Converts 90 Percent of Captured Light into Heat

A multidisciplinary engineering team at the University of California, San Diego developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also...

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