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
Carbon Nanotube-Based Structural Health Monitoring Sensors

Carbon nanotube (CNT)-based sensors for structural health monitoring (SHM) can be embedded in structures of all geometries to monitor conditions both inside and at the surface of the structure to continuously sense changes. These CNTs can be manipulated into specific orientations to...

A recent collaboration between the Whitesides Group at Harvard University and CSM Instruments has culminated in an important advance in lithography of different...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Mount Protects Thin-Walled Glass or Ceramic Tubes From Large Thermal and Vibration Loads

The design allows for the low-stress mounting of fragile objects, like thin walled glass, by using particular ways of compensating, isolating, or releasing the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) differences between the mounted object and the mount...

Briefs: Materials
Fire-Retardant Polymeric Additives

Polyhydroxyamide (PHA) and polymethoxyamide (PMeOA) are fire-retardant (FR) thermoplastic polymers and have been found to be useful as an additive for imparting fire retardant properties to other compatible, thermoplastic polymers (including some elastomers). Examples of compatible flammable polymers include...

A lift-gas cracker (LGC) is an apparatus that generates a low-molecular-weight gas (mostly hydrogen with smaller amounts of carbon monoxide and/or carbon dioxide) at low gauge pressure by...

Briefs: Materials
Ionic Liquids to Replace Hydrazine

A method for developing safe, easy-to-handle propellants has been developed based upon ionic liquids (ILs) or their eutectic mixtures. An IL is a binary combination of a typically organic cation and anion, which generally produces an ionic salt with a melting point below 100 °C. Many ILs have melting points...

Briefs: Materials
Variable Emittance Electrochromics Using Ionic Electrolytes and Low Solar Absorptance Coatings

One of the last remaining technical hurdles with variable emittance devices or skins based on conducting polymer electrochromics is the high solar absorptance of their top surfaces. This high solar absorptance causes overheating of the skin when facing...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Range 7 Scanner Integration With PaR Robot Scanning System

An interface bracket and coordinate transformation matrices were designed to allow the Range 7 scanner to be mounted on the PaR Robot detector arm for scanning the heat shield or other object placed in the test cell. A process was designed for using Rapid Form XOR to stitch data from...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Operating-Temperature Barrier Infrared Detector With Tailorable Cutoff Wavelength

A mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) barrier photodetector is capable of operating at higher temperature than the prevailing MWIR detectors based on InSb. The standard high-operating-temperature barrier infrared detector

(HOT-BIRD) is made with an InAsSb...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Methods of Antimicrobial Coating of Diverse Materials

Methods of coating diverse substrate materials with antimicrobial agents have been developed. Originally intended to reduce health risks to astronauts posed by pathogenic microorganisms that can grow on surfaces in spacecraft, these methods could also be used on Earth — for example, to...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Antimicrobial-Coated Granules for Disinfecting Water

Methods of preparing antimicrobial-coated granules for disinfecting flowing potable water have been developed. Like the methods reported in the immediately preceding article, these methods involve chemical preparation of substrate surfaces (in this case, the surfaces of granules) to enable...

Briefs: Materials
A Model of Reduced Kinetics for Alkane Oxidation Using Constituents and Species for N-Heptane

The reduction of elementary or skeletal oxidation kinetics to a subgroup of tractable reactions for inclusion in turbulent combustion codes has been the subject of numerous studies. The skeletal mechanism is obtained from the elementary mechanism by...

Briefs: Materials
Thermally Conductive Tape Based on Carbon Nanotube Arrays

To increase contact conductance between two mating surfaces, a conductive “tape” has been developed by growing dense arrays of carbon nanotubes (CNTs, graphite layers folded into cylinders) on both sides of a thermally conductive metallic foil. When the two mating surfaces are brought...

Briefs: Materials
Lightweight, Ultra-High-Temperature, CMC-Lined Carbon/Carbon Structures

lished engineering material used extensively in aerospace. The beneficial properties of C/C include high strength, low density, and toughness. Its shortcoming is its limited usability at temperatures higher than the oxidation temperature of carbon — approximately 400 °C....

Briefs: Materials
Two Catalysts for Selective Oxidation of Contaminant Gases

Two catalysts for the selective oxidation of trace amounts of contaminant gases in air have been developed for use aboard the International Space Station. These catalysts might also be useful for reducing concentrations of fumes in terrestrial industrial facilities — especially...

Briefs: Materials
Nanoscale Metal Oxide Semiconductors for Gas Sensing

A report describes the fabrication and testing of nanoscale metal oxide semiconductors (MOSs) for gas and chemical sensing. This document examines the relationship between processing approaches and resulting sensor behavior. This is a core question related to a range of applications of...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
2010 Create the Future Design Contest Winners E-Book

The 2010 Create the Future Design Contest, sponsored by COMSOL, Inc., PTC, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs), recognized innovation in product design in six categories: Consumer Products, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Safety & Security, Sustainable Technologies,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Hybrid Composite Cryogenic Tank Structure

A hybrid lightweight composite tank has been created using specially designed materials and manufacturing processes. The tank is produced by using a hybrid structure consisting of at least two reinforced composite material systems. The inner composite layer comprises a distinct fiber and resin matrix...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Nanoscale Deformable Optics

Several missions and instruments in the conceptual design phase rely on the technique of interferometry to create detectable fringe patterns. The intimate emplacement of reflective material upon electron device cells based upon chalcogenide material technology permits high-speed, predictable deformation of the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Zinc Oxide Nanowire Interphase for Enhanced Lightweight Polymer Fiber Composites

The objective of this work was to increase the interfacial strength between aramid fiber and epoxy matrix. This was achieved by functionalizing the aramid fiber followed by growth of a layer of ZnO nanowires on the fiber surface such that when embedded into the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Reliability-Based Design Optimization of a Composite Airframe Component

A stochastic optimization methodology (SDO) has been developed to design air-frame structural components made of metallic and composite materials. The design method accommodates uncertainties in load, strength, and material properties that are defined by distribution...

A plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) growth technique has been developed where the choice of starting substrate was found to...

Briefs: Materials
Nanoparticle/Polymer Nanocomposite Bond Coat or Coating

This innovation addresses the problem of coatings (meant to reduce gas permeation) applied to polymer matrix composites spalling off in service due to incompatibility with the polymer matrix. A bond coat/coating has been created that uses chemically functionalized nanoparticles (either clay...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Propulsion Design With Freeform Fabrication (PDFF)

The nation is challenged to decrease the cost and schedule to develop new space transportation propulsion systems for commercial, scientific, and military purposes. Better design criteria and manufacturing techniques for small thrusters are needed to meet current applications in missile defense,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Economical Fabrication of Thick-Section Ceramic Matrix Composites

A method was developed for producing thick-section [>2 in. (≈5 cm)], continuous fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). Ultramet-modified fiber interface coating and melt infiltration processing, developed previously for thin-section components, were used for the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process for Making a Noble Metal on Tin Oxide Catalyst

To produce a noble metal-on-metal oxide catalyst on an inert, high-surface-area support material (that functions as a catalyst at approximately room temperature using chloride-free reagents), for use in a carbon dioxide laser, requires two steps: First, a commercially available, inert,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Optimal Flow Control Design

In support of the Blended-Wing-Body aircraft concept, a new flow control hybrid vane/jet design has been developed for use in a boundary-layer-ingesting (BLI) offset inlet in transonic flows. This inlet flow control is designed to minimize the engine fan-face distortion levels and the first five Fourier harmonic half...

An involute-foil regenerator was designed, microfabricated, and tested in an oscillating-flow test rig. The concept consists of stacked involute-foil nickel disks (see...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Reducing Seal Adhesion in Low Impact Docking Systems

Silicone elastomers, used in seals for airlocks or other sealing surfaces in space, are sticky in their as-received condition. Because of the sticking, a greater force may be needed to separate the mating surfaces. If the adhesion is sufficiently high, a sudden unpredicted movement of the...

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