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
Low-Cost, Very Large Diamond-Turned Metal Mirror

This innovation is a method for fabricating a low-cost, lightweight, large-aperture mirror by constructing only the mirror substrate by electroforming on a master form machined from plastic foam. Electroformed tubes of the same NiP alloy are installed in the foam mirror substrate master....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Very-High-Load-Capacity Air Bearing Spindle for Large Diamond Turning Machines

Large-load-capacity oil hydrostatic bearings generate prohibitive amounts of heat in large sizes when run at speeds useful for diamond turning of optical components. The viscosity of air is more than three orders of magnitude less than the thinnest oil; therefore, the...

Briefs: Materials
Elevated-Temperature, Highly Emissive Coating for Energy Dissipation of Large Surfaces

This coating demonstrates high emittance above 80% or better at broad wavelengths within the infrared spectrum. It has shown to have an extremely stable emittance at lower wavelengths within the infrared (IR) spectrum, where energy dissipation is critical at...

Briefs: Materials
Catalyst for Treatment and Control of Post-Combustion Emissions

Emissions from fossil-fuel combustion contribute significantly to smog, acid rain, and global warming problems, and are subject to stringent environmental regulations. These regulations are expected to become more stringent as state and regional authorities become more involved in...

Briefs: Materials
Thermally Activated Crack Healing Mechanism for Metallic Materials

A thermally activated healing mechanism is proposed and experimentally validated to mitigate crack propagation damage in metallic materials. The protected structure is coated with a thin metallic film of a low-melting-temperature healing agent. To heal or mitigate crack damage,...

Briefs: Materials
Subsurface Imaging of Nanocomposites

A nondestructive method that is based on modified atomic force ultrasonic microscopy (AFUM) methods has been developed for characterizing nanomaterials. The technology allows imaging and quantifying of material properties at the surface and subsurface levels. The technology reveals the orientation of...

Briefs: Materials
Self-Healing Glass Sealants for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Electrolyzer Cells

A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy into electrical power. A solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) operates in a reverse mode of SOFC, and produces O2 and H2 gases. SOFCs are being developed for...

Briefs: Materials
Micromachined Thermopile Arrays with Novel Thermo-electric Materials

Future missions to outer planets will have stringent limits on payload mass. Thermal imaging instruments to map planetary surfaces will be part of those payloads, and, consequently, will have to be compact and low mass. For thermal instruments, another key requirement will be...

Briefs: Materials
Low-Cost, High-Performance MMOD Shielding

High-performance micro-meteoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) shielding can be constructed from low-cost, off-the-shelf materials. The advantage in using this innovation is in achieving considerable reduction in both cost and mass of the shielding necessary to protect spacecraft from hypervelocity MMOD...

News: Propulsion
New Algorithms Enable Self-Assembling, Printable Robots

In two new papers, MIT researchers demonstrate the promise of printable robotic components that, when heated, automatically fold into prescribed three-dimensional configurations.

One paper describes a system that takes a digital specification of a 3-D shape — such as a computer-aided...

Rotary sensors can help determine the position of a moveable body in relation to an axis. They are essential to the smooth running of car engines in the automotive industry, for...

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led...

News: Aerospace
3D-Printing Aerial Robot Mimics Tiny Bird

Scientists from Imperial College London have developed a 3D-printing Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) that mimics the way that swiftlets build their nests.

The MAV is a quad-copter, with four blades that enable it to fly and hover. The vehicle, made from off-the-shelf components, carries in its underbelly...

News: Aerospace
NASA Simulator Recreates Space Dust

A team of scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, has successfully reproduced, on Earth, the processes that occur in the atmosphere of a red giant star and lead to the formation of planet-forming interstellar dust.

Using a specialized facility, called the Cosmic Simulation...

News: Aerospace
Self-Repairing Plastic Regenerates After Damage

Illinois researchers have developed materials that not only heal, but regenerate. The restorative material is delivered through two, isolated fluid streams (dyed red and blue). The liquid immediately gels and later hardens, resulting in recovery of the entire damaged region.

For regenerating...

The efforts of U.S. Army engineers to implement an improved coating for howitzer breech spindles will provide several benefits, including easing the logistical burden on...

The J. Lohr Structures Laboratory at South Dakota State University helps companies develop new materials and products — self-consolidating concrete columns and pre-stress concrete bridge...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Products of Tomorrow: April 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...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Tailored 3D Fiber Architecture to Improve CVI Processing

An improvement has been made to the infiltration of 3D woven and 3D braided preforms that will lead to the manufacture of CMC (ceramic matrix composite) and C–C (carbon-carbon) composites based on 3D fiber architectures that have low residual porosity and smaller void sizes. Tailoring...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Microwave Print Head System for Melting Materials

There is a need to develop an efficient method for processing lunar regolith in support of future missions to colonize the Moon. A system for heating lunar regolith (“moon soil”) using...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Novel Chemistry for Deposition of MgF2 Thin Films

Magnesium fluoride (MgF2) thin films are useful for many different optics applications. In particular, they are useful for ultraviolet anti-reflective and protective coatings. However, in the far UV, one needs a very small, controllable amount of material to get the best optical...

ITO is a doped metal oxide semiconductor that combines two properties that usually are mutually exclusive in most materials: optical transparency and electrical conductivity. It...

Briefs: Materials
Electride Mediated Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

A new sensor substrate supports Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy. A ceramic electride is demonstrated to provide surface enhanced Raman scattering. This provides a sensitive method for monitoring the chemistry and electronic environment at the electride surface. The electride, an ionic...

Briefs: Materials
Patterned Carbon Nanotube Arrays for Displays

Multi-colored electronic displays that are dynamically reconfigurable require substantial electrical power and are limited in the amount of fine detail provided by the physical size of the light sources. For example, where phosphor elements are used, as in a television screen or computer monitor, the...

Briefs: Materials
Puncture Self-Healing Polymer for Aerospace Applications

A document discusses a puncture self-healing polymer for space exploration that is capable of puncture healing upon impact. Puncture healing occurs instantaneously, providing mechanical property retention in lightweight structures.

News: Electronics & Computers
Scientist Creates Three-Atom-Wide Nanowire

Junhao Lin, a Vanderbilt University Ph.D. student and visiting scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has found a way to use a finely focused beam of electrons to create some of the smallest wires ever made. The flexible metallic wires are only three atoms wide: One thousandth the width of...

Researchers at University West in Sweden are using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating surface layer that protects aircraft engines from heat. In tests, this increased the...

News: Materials
Versatile Adhesive Mimics Gecko Feet

A team of University of Massachusetts Amherst inventors created a new, more versatile version of their invention, Geckskin. The technology adheres strongly to a wider range of surfaces, yet releases easily, like a gecko’s feet.

“Imagine sticking your tablet on a wall to watch your favorite movie and...

News: Nanotechnology
Nanomaterial Extends Lithium-Sulfur Battery Lifespan

A new nanomaterial could extend the lifespan of lithium-sulfur batteries, and therefore the driving range of electric vehicles.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers added the powder to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur...

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