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: Energy
Researchers Use Sun to Produce Solar-Energy Materials

In a recent advance in solar energy, researchers have discovered a way to tap the sun not only as a source of power, but also to directly produce solar energy materials.

This breakthrough by chemical engineers at Oregon State University could soon reduce the cost of solar energy, speed...

News: Materials
Transient Electronics Dissolve When Triggered

An Iowa State research team led by Reza Montazami is developing "transient materials" and "transient electronics" that can quickly and completely melt away when a trigger is activated. The development could mean that one day you might be able to send out a signal to destroy a lost credit card.


News: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wireless Device Senses Chemical Vapors

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has developed a small electronic sensing device that can alert users wirelessly to the presence of chemical vapors in the atmosphere. The technology, which could be manufactured using familiar aerosol-jet printing techniques, is aimed at myriad...

Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Oxygen Containers Transport Tank Assembly to ISS
Oxygen shipping containers
Waxahachie, TX

Americase designed, developed, and completed the first HM224B/DOT31FP shipping...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Self-Aligning Lug for Adapting Carbon Fiber Rods to a Bolted Metallic Connection

The enormous strength of unidirectional carbon fiber composite rods is difficult to take advantage of at their ends because of inadequate joining technology. Bolting does not work with unidirectional composites, and bonding is difficult due to stiffness mismatches...

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...

Stratasys, Eden Prairie, MN, has introduced the Objet500 Connex3 color multi-material 3D printer, the first 3D printer to combine colors with multi-material 3D...

Briefs: Materials
Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes Into Polymer Matrices to Produce Unique Properties

The present invention addresses the effective dispersion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into polymer matrices. The nanocomposites are prepared using polymer matrices and exhibit a unique combination of properties, most notably, high retention of optical transparency in...

Briefs: Materials
Carbon Nanotube Growth Density Control

This method provides control over the growth density of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on a relatively coarse scale, with density adjustment over several orders of magnitude, using an applied electrical field or voltage difference that is aligned substantially perpendicular to the substrate surface, which is...

Briefs: Materials
Pulsed Plasma Lubricator (PPL) Technology for the In Situ Replenishment of Dry Lubricants in Extreme Environments

NASA missions employing mobility systems and other moving mechanical assemblies for application on Mars, the Moon, and in deep space depend on the reliable operation of these assemblies and their tribological components. Wet...

Briefs: Materials
Long-Life, Hydrophilic, Antimicrobial Coating for Condensing Heat Exchangers

Future manned spacecraft and lunar or Mars outposts will need a condensing heat exchanger (CHX) to control humidity in the cabin atmosphere. Condensing surfaces must be hydrophilic to control condensate flow and ensure efficient operation in zero gravity, and biocidal...

Briefs: Materials
Opposed Pad Gecko Adhesive Gripper for On-Off Omnidirectional Anchoring/Gripping in Orbit

The idea of turning the stickiness of a material on and off is not an intuitive concept, yet this is exactly how geckos run up walls at speeds greater than 1 m/s and cling to ceilings made of glass. Transitioning this capability to spacecraft would...

Briefs: Materials
Complex Geometry Multi-Use Coatings for Abrasion Prevention, Wear Resistance, and Lunar Dust Removal

Two coatings are required to remove/repel lunar dust particles from the mechanism or surface that needs protection. One coating must be a conductor, and one must be a dielectric. Tungsten carbide (WC) and aluminum oxide...

A gravity-independent PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell stack has been developed that will operate at high-pressure H2 and O2...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Metal-Assisted Fabrication of Biodegradable Porous Silicon Nanostructures

Porous silicon nanowires are fabricated by two-step, metal-assisted electroless chemical etching of p-type or n-type silicon wafers. This method, in combination with nanolithography or nanopatterning, can be applied to fabricate porous silicon nanostructures of different...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Post-Growth, In Situ Adhesion of Carbon Nanotubes to a Substrate for Robust CNT Cathodes

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

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thermal Mechanical Preparation of Glass Spheres

Samples of lunar regolith have included small glass spheres. Most literature has suggested the small spheres were formed by meteorite impacts. The resulting transformation of kinetic energy to thermal energy caused the lunar surface to melt. The process yielded glass spheres. Recreating a meteorite...

The automotive industry faces growing pressure for more efficient vehicles. This pressure comes from many sources including government regulations,...

Briefs: Materials
Mechanistic-Based Multiaxial- Stochastic-Strength Model for Transversely- Isotropic Brittle Materials

A methodology has been developed and the software written to predict the probability of failure of transversely isotropic (a type of anisotropy) materials under generalized thermomechanical loading. This methodology is mechanistic in that it is...

The U.S. Army is nearing completion on a project to eliminate its dependency on foreign countries for a critical energetic component in artillery and mortar ammunition,...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will 3D Printers Find a Place in the Home?

The 3D printing industry has new offerings today, specifically cheaper, easier-to-use hardware and online marketplaces filled with predesigned files. MakerBot, for example, recently announced a new one-button MakerBot Mini. Files can be sent directly to the compact printer from a mobile phone or...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Development of a Precision Thermal Doubler for Deep Space

Thermal requirements and a need for a very flat mechanical interface led to the development of a copper doubler for the titanium vault on the Juno Spacecraft. The vault is designed to contain the science instruments on the spacecraft, protecting them from damage due to the extreme...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improving Friction Stir Welds Using Laser Peening

Friction stir welding (FSW) has emerged as a promising solid-state process with encouraging results, particularly when used on high-strength aerospace aluminum alloys that are generally difficult to weld. Laser peening has been applied to the mechanical and fatigue properties of welded joints....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Methodology of Evaluating Margins of Safety in Critical Brazed Joints

This methodology provides a guide consisting of design, testing, and structural analysis steps developed to assure positive strength margins of safety (MS) in critical brazed joints used for assembly of flight and non-flight structures.

Spacecraft shielding is defined as the outer layer of a satellite or spacecraft that protects it against micrometeorite and orbital debris (MMOD), radiation damage, and...

Briefs: Materials
Li-Ion Electrolytes Containing Flame-Retardant Additives

In order to improve the safety and performance of lithium- ion cells, especially over a wide operating temperature range, a number of Li-ion electrolytes have been developed that contain flame-retardant additives in conjunction with fluorinated co-solvents to provide a safe,...

Briefs: Materials
Touch Temperature Coating for Electrical Equipment on Spacecraft

A coating has been developed that can be applied to spacecraft equipment to significantly increase the allowable touch temperature limit, while only marginally degrading the heat transfer to the environment.

In the past two decades, there have been significant advancements in the field of additive manufacturing (AM) of titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) and other metallic...

Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Prototype Recovers Lost-At-Sea Images

New hardware built by research engineers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is helping NASA retrieve experimental images otherwise lost at sea. The hardware weighs less than two pounds, and...

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