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: Materials
Imidazolium-Based Polymeric Materials as Alkaline Anion-Exchange Fuel Cell Membranes

Polymer electrolyte membranes that conduct hydroxide ions have potential use in fuel cells. A variety of polystyrenebased quaternary ammonium hydroxides have been reported as anion exchange fuel cell membranes. However, the hydrolytic stability and conductivity...

New and improved blocking filters (see figure) have been developed for microcalorimeters on several mission payloads, made of high-transmission polyimide support mesh, that...

Briefs: Materials
High-Thermal-Conductivity Fabrics

Heat management with common textiles such as nylon and spandex is hindered by the poor thermal conductivity from the skin surface to cooling surfaces. This innovation showed marked improvement in thermal conductivity of the individual fibers and tubing, as well as components assembled from them.

Briefs: Materials
Electrospun Nanofiber Coating of Fiber Materials: A Composite Toughening Approach

Textile-based composites could significantly benefit from local toughening using nanofiber coatings. Nanofibers, thermoplastic or otherwise, can be applied to the surface of the fiber tow bundle, achieving toughening of the fiber tow contact surfaces, resulting in...

Plastic-molded components produced by Diversified Plastics are currently speeding through space towards Jupiter aboard NASA’s Juno Space Probe. The craft was launched August 5, 2011, and...

Researchers creating electricity through photovoltaics want to convert as many of the sun’s wavelengths as possible to achieve maximum efficiency. For this reason, they see...

Projects that utilize large volumes of nonmetallic materials of planetary protection concern pose a challenge to their bioburden budget, as the most...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Demonstration of Minimally Machined Honeycomb Silicon Carbide Mirrors

Honeycomb silicon carbide composite mirrors are made from a carbon fiber preform that is molded into a honeycomb shape using a rigid mold. The carbon fiber honeycomb is densified by using polymer infiltration pyrolysis, or through a reaction with liquid silicon. A chemical...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Heat Shield Employing Cured Thermal Protection Material Blocks Bonded in a Large-Cell Honeycomb Matrix

A document describes a new way to integrate thermal protection materials on external surfaces of vehicles that experience the severe heating environments of atmospheric entry from space. Cured blocks of thermal protection materials are bonded...

Briefs: Materials
Nanoengineered Thermal Materials Based on Carbon Nanotube Array Composites

State-of-the-art integrated circuits (ICs) for microprocessors routinely dissipate power densities on the order of 50 W/cm2. This large power is due to the localized heating of ICs operating at high frequencies and must be managed for future highfrequency...

Briefs: Materials
Polyimide Aerogel Thin Films

Polyimide aerogels have been cross-linked through multifunctional amines. This invention builds on “Polyimide Aerogels With Three-Dimensional Cross-Linked Structure,” (LEW-18486-1), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 34, No. 8 (August 2010), page 38, and may be considered as a continuation of that invention, which results in...

Briefs: Materials
Composite Laminate With Coefficient of Thermal Expansion Matching D263 Glass

The International X-ray Observatory project seeks to make an X-ray telescope assembly with 14,000 flexible glass segments. The glass used is commercially available SCHOTT D263 glass. Thermal expansion causes the mirror to distort out of alignment. A housing material is...

Briefs: Materials
Asymmetric Supercapacitor for Long-Duration Power Storage

A document discusses a project in which a series of novel hybrid positive electrode materials was developed and tested in asymmetric capacitors with carbon negative electrodes. The electrochemical performance of the hybrid capacitors was characterized by cyclic voltammetry and a DC...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
Detecting Contaminants in Water

Many organic contaminants in the air and in drinking water need to be detected at very low-level concentrations. Research published by the laboratory of Prashant V. Kamat, the John A. Zahm Professor of Science...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Single-Layer, All-Metal Patch Antenna Element With Wide Bandwidth

It is known that the impedance at the center of a patch antenna element is a short circuit, implying that a wire or post can be connected from the patch to the groundplane at this point without impacting radiation performance. In principle, this central post can be used to support...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Scanning Laser Infrared Molecular Spectrometer (SLIMS)

This prototype innovation is a novel design that achieves very long, effective laser path lengths that are able to yield ppb (parts per billion) and sub-ppb measurements of trace gases. SLIMS can also accommodate multiple laser channels covering a wide range of wavelengths, resulting in...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Next-Generation Microshutter Arrays for Large-Format Imaging and Spectroscopy

A next-generation microshutter array, LArge Microshutter Array (LAMA), was developed as a multi-object field selector. LAMA consists of small-scaled microshutter arrays that can be combined to form large-scale microshutter array mosaics. Microshutter actuation is...

Building on previous knowledge acquired through research on thin-film batteries, three-dimensional (3D) porous macroscopic...

Briefs: Materials
Enhanced-Adhesion Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes on Titanium Substrates for Stray Light Control

Carbon nanotubes previously grown on silicon have extremely low reflectance, making them a good candidate for stray light suppression. Silicon, however, is not a good structural material for stray light components such as tubes, stops, and baffles....

Briefs: Materials
Detection of Carbon Monoxide Using Polymer-Composite Films With a Porphyrin-Functionalized Polypyrrole

Post-fire air constituents that are of interest to NASA include CO and some acid gases (HCl and HCN). CO is an important analyte to be able to sense in human habitats since it is a marker for both pre-fire detection and post-fire cleanup.

Briefs: Materials
Ultra-Lightweight Nanocomposite Foams and Sandwich Structures for Space Structure Applications

Microcellular nanocomposite foams and sandwich structures have been created to have excellent electrical conductivity and radiation-resistant properties using a new method that does not involve or release any toxicity. The nanocomposite structures have...

Application Briefs: Materials
Thin-Film Tape Protects Mars Rover Wiring

A high-performance thin-film product created specifically for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, is being used to ensure the electrical currents from the Mars Rover Curiosity’s...

Techs for License: Materials
MothEye Non-Reflective Display Coating Kills Glare and Improves Contrast

Sub-wavelength nanostructures virtually eliminate glare and minimize reflection while enhancing contrast and light transmission to over 99% in the visible wavelengths. Sony Chemical has developed manufacturing expertise in this nanostructure coating, which is called...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
New Materials May Cut Energy Costs for Carbon Capture

A study of over four million absorbent minerals has determined that industrial minerals called zeolites could help electricity producers slash as much as 30 percent of the parasitic...

Creators of a nanotech-based system that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere within a submarine while providing a more environmentally friendly removal process have won the...

Copper is one of the few metals that can turn carbon dioxide into hydrocarbon fuels with relatively little energy, but it is temperamental and easily oxidized. MIT researchers...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Graphene Transparent Conductive Electrodes for Next- Generation Microshutter Arrays

Graphene is a single atomic layer of graphite. It is optically transparent and has high electron mobility, and thus has great potential to make transparent conductive electrodes. This invention contributes towards the development of graphene transparent...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of a Cryogenic Terahertz Emitter for Bolometer Focal Plane Calibrations

A fabrication process is reported for prototype emitters of THz radiation, which operate cryogenically, and should provide a fast, stable blackbody source suitable for characterization of THz devices. The fabrication has been demonstrated and, at the time of this...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of an Absorber-Coupled MKID Detector

Absorber-coupled microwave kinetic inductance detector (MKID) arrays were developed for submillimeter and farinfrared astronomy. These sensors comprise arrays of lambda/2 stepped microwave impedance resonators patterned on a 1.5-mm-thick silicon membrane, which is optimized for optical coupling....

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