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.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Pressure Lightweight Thrusters

Returning samples of Martian soil and rock to Earth is of great interest to scientists. There were numerous studies to evaluate Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission architectures, technology needs, development plans, and requirements. The largest propulsion risk element of the MSR mission is the Mars Ascent...

Applications: Electronics & Computers
Robotic Exoskeleton Vastly Improves Quality of Life

Worldwide an estimated 185 million people use a wheelchair daily. A company based in Auckland, New Zealand, has developed an innovative robotic technology that helps people with mobility...

Techs for License: Materials
Zeolite Production Method Removes Soil Pollutants

X-type zeolites use an ion-exchange mechanism to capture and retain heavy metals for soil and water remediation. Zeolites are hydrated aluminosilicate minerals characterized by a three-dimensional open structure. Their cation exchange capacity (CEC), large surface area, and porosity allow the...

Recently, additive manufacturing (AM) techniques have been developed that may shift the paradigm of traditional metal production by allowing complex netshaped...

Briefs: Materials
Ambient Dried Aerogels

A method has been developed for creating aerogel using normal pressure and ambient temperatures. All spacecraft, satellites, and landers require the use of thermal insulation due to the extreme environments encountered in space and on extraterrestrial bodies. Ambient dried aerogels introduce the possibility of using...

Briefs: Materials
Passivation of Flexible YBCO Superconducting Current Lead With Amorphous SiO2 Layer

Adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators (ADR) are operated in space to cool detectors of cosmic radiation to a few 10s of mK. A key element of the ADR is a superconducting magnet operating at about 0.3 K that is continually energized and de-energized in...

In the winter of 2009, Washington, DC workers faced the prospect of a difficult commute due to record-setting snowfall. But thousands of the city’s Metrorail riders found the public transportation...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ultrasonic Low-Friction Containment Plate for Thermal and Ultrasonic Stir Weld Processes

The thermal stir welding (TSW) process is finding applications in fabrication of space vehicles. In this process, workpieces to be joined by TSW are drawn, by heavy forces, between “containment plates,” past the TSW tool that then causes joining of the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Powered, Ultrasonically Assisted Thermal Stir Welding

This method is a solid-state weld process capable of joining metallic alloys without melting. The weld workpieces to be joined by thermal stir welding (TSW) are drawn, by heavy forces, between containment plates past the TSW stir tool that then causes joining of the weld workpiece.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Next-Generation MKIII Lightweight HUT/Hatch Assembly

The MK III (H-1) carbon-graphite/ epoxy Hard Upper Torso (HUT)/Hatch assembly was designed, fabricated, and tested in the early 1990s. The spacesuit represented an 8.3 psi (≈58 kPa) technology demonstrator model of a zero prebreathe suit. The basic torso shell, brief, and hip areas of the...

Briefs: Materials
Centrifugal Sieve for Gravity-Level-Independent Size Segregation of Granular Materials

Conventional size segregation or screening in batch mode, using stacked vibrated screens, is often a time-consuming process. Utilization of centrifugal force instead of gravity as the primary body force can significantly shorten the time to segregate feedstock...

Briefs: Materials
Ion Exchange Technology Development in Support of the Urine Processor Assembly

The urine processor assembly (UPA) on the International Space Station (ISS) recovers water from urine via a vacuum distillation process. The distillation occurs in a rotating distillation assembly (DA) where the urine is heated and subjected to sub-ambient pressure....

Next-generation high-temperature thermoelectric-power-generating devices will employ segmented architectures and will have to reliably withstand thermally induced...

The use of additive manufacturing technologies in aerospace applications has presented both opportunities and challenges. The ability to produce parts and...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bismuth Passivation Technique for High-Resolution X-Ray Detectors

The Athena-plus team requires X-ray sensors with energy resolution of better than one part in 3,000 at 6 keV X-rays. While bismuth is an excellent material for high X-ray stopping power and low heat capacity (for large signal when an X-ray is stopped by the absorber), oxidation of...

Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
NASA’s Next Rover Features 3D-Printed Parts

The Desert RATS (Research and Technology Studies) Space Exploration Rover has roamed the Arizona desert, maneuvering the terrain as the wind and temperatures swing from one extreme to another....

Briefs: Materials
Microgravity Storage Vessels and Conveying-Line Feeders for Cohesive Regolith

Under microgravity, the usual methods of placing granular solids into, or extracting them from, containers or storage vessels will not function. Alternative methods are required to provide a motive force to move the material. New configurations for microgravity...

In a previous disclosure, the use of 60-NiTiNOL, an ordered intermetallic compound composed of 60 weight percent nickel and 40 weight percent titanium, was investigated as a material for advanced...

Briefs: Materials
Cu-Cr-Nb-Zr Alloy for Rocket Engines and Other High-Heat- Flux Applications

Rocket-engine main combustion chamber liners are used to contain the burning of fuel and oxidizer and provide a stream of high-velocity gas for propulsion. The liners in engines such as the Space Shuttle Main Engine are regeneratively cooled by flowing fuel, e.g.,...

News: Materials
Army Develops Stronger, Lighter Composite Materials

In the future, Army aircraft may be made of all composite materials, and the Prototype Integration Facility Advanced Composites Laboratory is ready. Part of the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center's (AMRDEC's) Engineering Directorate, the Prototype Integration...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Silicon Micromachined Microlens Array for THz Antennas

A 5×5 silicon microlens array was developed using a silicon micromachining technique for a silicon-based THz antenna array. The feature of the silicon micromachining technique enables...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Method for Reduction of Silver Biocide Plating on Metal Surfaces

Silver ions in aqueous solutions (0.05 to 1 ppm) are used for microbial control in water systems. The silver ions remain in solution when stored in plastic containers, but the concentration rapidly decreases to non-biocidal levels when stored in metal containers. The silver...

Briefs: Information Technology
Flight Software Math Library

The flight software (FSW) math library is a collection of reusable math components that provides typical math utilities required by spacecraft flight software. These utilities are intended to increase flight software quality reusability and maintainability by providing a set of consistent, well-documented, and tested...

Muon tomography has been used to seek hidden chambers in Egyptian pyramids and image subsurface features in volcanoes. It seemed likely that...

Briefs: Materials
Conductive Carbon Nanotube Inks for Use with Desktop Inkjet Printing Technology

Inkjet printing is a common commercial process. In addition to the familiar use in printing documents from computers, it is also used in some industrial applications. For example, wire manufacturers are required by law to print the wire type, gauge, and safety...

Briefs: Materials
Enhanced Schapery Theory Software Development for Modeling Failure of Fiber-Reinforced Laminates

Progressive damage and failure analysis (PDFA) tools are needed to predict the nonlinear response of advanced fiber-reinforced composite structures. Predictive tools should incorporate the underlying physics of the damage and failure mechanisms...

Briefs: Materials
High-Performance, Low-Temperature-Operating, Long-Lifetime Aerospace Lubricants

The synthesis and characterization of six new ionic liquids, with fluoroether moeties on the imidazolium ring, each with vapor pressures shown to be

Briefs: Materials
Carbon Nanotube Microarrays Grown on Nanoflake Substrates

This innovation consists of a new composition of matter where single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are grown in aligned arrays from nanostructured flakes that are coated in Fe catalyst. This method of growth of aligned SWNTs, which can yield well over 400 percent SWNT mass per unit...

More than two decades ago, NASA started looking for a new way to keep astronauts comfortable in their space gloves. During a spacewalk, temperatures can range between 250 °F and -250 °F. One...

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