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.

News: Aerospace
Researchers Create Energy-Absorbing Material

Materials like solid gels and porous foams are used for padding and cushioning, but each has its own advantages and limitations.

A team of engineers and scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has found a way to design and fabricate, at the microscale, new cushioning materials...

Researchers have engineered a high-precision modular inspection system that can be adapted on a customer-specific basis and integrated into the production process. Before a...

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory are implementing a printing process that transitions from one metal or alloy to another in a single object. JPL scientists have been...

Melanin — and specifically, the form called eumelanin — is the primary pigment that gives humans the coloring of their skin, hair, and eyes. It protects the body...

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego are asking what might be possible if semiconductor materials were flexible and stretchable without sacrificing...

News: Photonics/Optics
NASA Engineer Set to Complete First 3D-Printed Space Cameras

By the end of September, NASA aerospace engineer Jason Budinoff is expected to complete the first imaging telescopes ever assembled almost exclusively from 3D-manufactured components.

Under his multi-pronged project, funded by Goddard’s Internal Research and Development (IRAD)...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Advanced Composite Thrust Chambers for In-Space Propulsion

Radiation-cooled, bipropellant thrust chambers are being used for in-space propulsion. To increase the performance of radiation-cooled engines, improved chamber materials are needed that will allow higher operating conditions (pressure and temperature), better resistance to oxidation,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Integrally Woven Fiber Architecture for Composite Turbine Blades

Composite turbine blades are currently fabricated by laying up multiple layers of fibers in the form of either unidirectional prepregs or thin woven cloth. Composites formed in this manner have poor through-thickness strength. It is also difficult, if not impossible, to form...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Assembly and Packaging to Mass-Produce Carbon Nanotube Vacuum Microdevices and Circuits

Field-emission electron sources using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being targeted for low-power vacuum microelectronic applications for harsh-environment operation (high temperature, pressure, and corrosive atmosphere). While CNTs have demonstrated excellent...

Briefs: Materials
High-Efficiency, Easy-to-Manufacture Engineered Nanomaterials for Thermoelectric Applications

Stated generally, reducing the dimensionality of bulk-scale thermoelectric (TE) materials is theoretically and practically understood to be a viable route for maintaining/increasing phonon scattering, and maintaining/increasing electrical conductivity...

Briefs: Materials
Refractory Open-Cell Foam Fuel Matrix for High-Efficiency Nuclear Thermal Propulsion

A tricarbide foam fuel material has been developed that can operate at temperatures near 3,000 °C, without substantial hydrogen erosion, while providing highly efficient heat transfer to the coolant or propellant. A tricarbide foam fuel matrix of zirconium...

Briefs: Materials
Hydrazine Absorbent/Detoxification Pad

A new chemistry was developed for existing hydrazine absorbent/detoxification pads. Enhancements include faster reaction rates, weight reduction, a color change that indicates spill occurrence, and another color change that indicates successful hydrazine degradation. The previous spill control pad, using...

Briefs: Materials
Nanotechnology Approach to Lightweight, Multifunctional Polyethylene Composite Materials

Of several ideas being pursued by NASA for the reduction of radiation dosage to astronauts, the use of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)-based composite materials for both radiation shielding and micrometeorite shielding appears to be...

Briefs: Materials
Electrostrictive Polymers

A new class of electroactive polymeric blend materials has been created that offers both sensing and actuation dual functionality. The blend is comprised of two components where one has sensing capability, and the other has actuating capability. These innovative materials provide significant field-induced strain, high...

News: Materials
Researchers Build 'Invisible' Materials with Light

Metamaterials have a wide range of potential applications, including sensing and improving military stealth technology. Before cloaking devices can become reality on a larger scale, however, researchers must determine how to make the right materials at the nanoscale. Using light is now shown to...

News: Energy
Spongelike Structure Converts Solar Energy into Steam

A new material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun.

The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot...

News: Aerospace
Engineers Use Resin Inks, 3D Printing to Build Lightweight Cellular Composites

Like other manufactured products that use sandwich panel construction to achieve a combination of light weight and strength, turbine blades contain carefully arrayed strips of balsa wood from Ecuador, which provides 95 percent of the world’s supply.

As turbine...

Chemists have synthesized a new material that could show the way forward to state-of-the-art lithium-sulfur batteries for electric cars. The industry is currently placing most of...

News: Electronics & Computers
Nano-Pixels Promise Flexible, High-Res Displays

A new discovery will make it possible to create pixels just a few hundred nanometers across. The "nano-pixels" could pave the way for extremely high-resolution and low-energy thin, flexible displays for applications such as 'smart' glasses, synthetic retinas, and foldable screens.

Oxford...

News: Transportation
Inspired by Nature, Researchers Build a Tougher Metal

Drawing inspiration from the structure of bones and bamboo, researchers have gradually changed the internal structure of metals to make stronger, tougher materials. The new metals can be customized for a wide variety of applications — from body armor to automobile parts.

The research team...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Products of Tomorrow: July 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 aircraft...

Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Heat Pipe Assembly Passes NASA Hypersonic Tests
Embedded heat pipe assembly
Thermacore
Lancaster, PA
717-569-6551
www.thermacore.com

A Thermacore heat pipe assembly recently completed testing at the NASA Ames Arc...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Full-Cell Evaluation/Screening Technique for New Battery Chemistries

A quick and cost-effective evaluation/screening technique for new battery chemistries was developed that integrates the individual advanced cell component in a full-cell format to identify the critical issues, such as cell component interaction and compatibility before...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Growth Method for Chalcongenide Phase-Change Nanostructures

Recently, one-dimensional (1-D) nanostructures, such as nanowires and nanotubes, have become the focal point of research in nanotechnology due to their fascinating properties. These properties are intrinsically associated with low dimensionality and small diameters, which may lead to...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
ELID Grinding of Large Aspheres

This work focused on a manufacturing process to produce silicon carbide optical surfaces with low mid-spatial surface errors. Mid-spatial frequency (MSF) and high-spatial frequency (HSF) surface errors in the grinding of fast aspheres are amplified in hard ceramics like silicon carbide due to cyclic tool wear...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Highly Aligned Electrospun Fibers and Mats

A modified electrospinning apparatus has been created for spinning highly aligned polymer fibers. Fiber placement, orientation, and porosity are difficult to control using conventional electrospinning apparatus. Conventional electrospinning creates randomly oriented fibers that are well suited to...

Dr. Mary Ann Meador, Senior Research Scientist at NASA Glenn Research Center, guides projects that will synthesize new types of aerogels. Her research has...

News: Transportation
Morphable Surfaces Reduce Air Resistance

A morphable surface developed by an MIT team can change surface texture — from smooth to dimpled, and back again — through changes in pressure. When the inside pressure is reduced, the flexible material shrinks, and the stiffer outer layer wrinkles. Increasing pressure returns the surface to a smooth...

News: Sensors/Data Acquisition
'Sensing Skin' Detects Damage in Concrete Structures

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Eastern Finland have developed new “sensing skin” technology designed to serve as an early warning system for concrete structures, allowing authorities to respond quickly to damage in everything from nuclear facilities...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Reducing the Cost of Quality in Automotive BiW

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Electric-Vehicle Transmission Development Priorities

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The Critical Role of Fiber Optic Temperature Sensors in Medical...

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Zinc Die Casting Concepts to Achieve Precision, Performance, and...

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Radar Measurements: Triggering, Analysis, and Generation

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Designing with Silicone for Space

Videos