Materials & Manufacturing

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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: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Software Helps Visualize the Structures of Molecules

Hitoshi Goto, associate professor in Toyohashi Tech’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has helped develop and his lab is using original software-based tools to better understand a variety of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena at the molecular level.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

The harmful properties of lunar dust, such as small size, glass composition, abnormal surface area, and coatings of imbedded nanophase iron, lead to a unique coupling of...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Development of a Centrifugal Technique for the Microbial Bioburden Analysis of Freon (CFC-11)

NASA Procedural Requirement 8020.12C entitled “Planetary Protection Provisions for Robotic Extraterrestrial Missions” states that the source-specific encapsulated microbial density for encapsulated organisms (div(0)) in nonmetallic materials ranges...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Advanced Materials and Manufacturing for Low-Cost, High-Performance Liquid Rocket Combustion Chambers

A document describes the low-cost manufacturing of C103 niobium alloy combustion chambers, and the use of a high-temperature, oxidation-resistant coating that is superior to the standard silicide coating. The manufacturing process involved...

Briefs: Materials
Using Pre-Melted Phase Change Material to Keep Payloads in Space Warm for Hours Without Power

Adding phase change material (PCM) to a mission payload can maintain its temperature above the cold survival limit, without power, for several hours in space. For the International Space Station, PCM is melted by heaters just prior to the payload...

Briefs: Materials
Fibrillar Adhesive for Climbing Robots

A climbing robot needs to use its adhesive patches over and over again as it scales a slope. Replacing the adhesive at each step is generally impractical. If the adhesive or attachment mechanism cannot be used repeatedly, then the robot must carry an extra load of this adhesive to apply a fresh layer with...

Briefs: Materials
Transformers: Shape-Changing Space Systems Built With Robotic Textiles

Prior approaches to transformer-like robots had only very limited success. They suffer from lack of reliability, ability to integrate large surfaces, and very modest change in overall shape. Robots can now be built from two-dimensional (2D) layers of robotic fabric. This...

Articles: Materials

The Partnership for Next Gen eration Vehicles (PNGV) is not a NASA initiative to develop powerful new rockets and spacecraft, even though it may sound like one. PNGV was a partnership...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

The environmental conditions of the Moon require mitigation if a long-term human presence is to be achieved for extended periods of time. Radiation, micrometeoroid impacts,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process for Patterning Indium for Bump Bonding

An innovation was created for the Cosmology Large Angular Scale Surveyor for integration of low-temperature detector chips with a silicon backshort and a silicon photonic choke through flip-chip bonding. Indium bumps are typically patterned using liftoff processes, which require thick resist. In...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Composite With In Situ Plenums

A document describes a high-performance thermal distribution panel (TDP) concept using high-conductivity (>800 W/mK) macro composite skin with in situ heat pipes. The processing technologies proposed to build such a panel result in a one-piece, inseparable assembly with high conductance in both the X and Y...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Pneumatic System for Concentration of Micrometer-Size Lunar Soil

A report describes a size-sorting method to separate and concentrate micrometer-size dust from a broad size range of particles without using sieves, fluids, or other processes that may modify the composition or the surface properties of the dust.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Buckyball Nucleation of HiPco Tubes

The purpose of this innovation is to enhance nucleation of single-wall nanotubes (SWNTs) in the HiPco process, selectively producing 10,10 tubes, something which until now has not been thought possible.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

The Flexible Array Concentrator Technology (FACT) is a lightweight, high-performance reflective concentrator blanket assembly that can be used on flexible solar array blankets. The FACT concentrator replaces every...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Create the Future Design Contest 2012

The 2012 Create the Future Design Contest — sponsored by COMSOL, Nordson EFD, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) — recognized innovation in product design in seven categories: Con sumer Products, Electronics, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Safety & Security, Sustainable Tech...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
LumEN: Luminescent Solar Concentrators for Sustainable, On-Demand Electricity Production Gianmarco Griffini, Massimo Micocci, and Francesca Ostuzzi,
Politecnico di...
Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
LIFE PACK Hypothermia Prevention

Floatation Device Dwight and Jane Cushman, Village Memorial, Portland, OR

Even with floatation gear, when a person who is not prepared...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Top Ten Most Popular Entries

Visitors to the Create the Future Design Contest Web site were invited to vote on their favorite entries. Here are the top ten most popular entries, winners of a SpaceMouse Pro 3D mouse from 3Dconnexion.

Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies (ET3)™ Daryl Oster, ET3 Global Alliance

This global...

Briefs: Materials
Adjusting Permittivity by Blending Varying Ratios of SWNTs

A new composite material of singlewalled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) displays radio frequency (0 to 1 GHz) permittivity properties that can be adjusted based upon the nanotube composition. When varying ratios of raw to functionalized SWNTs are blended into the silicone elastomer matrix at a...

Briefs: Materials
Polyolefin-Based Aerogels

An organic polybutadiene (PB) rubber-based aerogel insulation material was developed that will provide superior thermal insulation and inherent radiation protection, exhibiting the flexibility, resiliency, toughness, and durability typical of the parent polymer, yet with the low density and superior insulation...

Briefs: Materials
An Integrated, Layered-Spinel Composite Cathode for Energy Storage Applications

At low operating temperatures, commercially available electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries do not fully meet the energy and power requirements for NASA’s exploration activities. The composite cathode under development is projected to provide the required...

Briefs: Materials
Engineered Multifunctional Surfaces for Fluid Handling

Designs incorporating variations in capillary geometry and hydrophilic and/or antibacterial surface properties have been developed that are capable of passive gas/liquid separation and passive water flow. These designs can incorporate capillary grooves and/or surfaces arranged to create...

News: Materials

Platinum works well as a catalyst in hydrogen fuel cells, but it is expensive and degrades over time. Brown University chemist Shouheng Sun and his students have...

News: Energy

North Carolina State University researchers have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) – a semiconductor material – that have extremely thin petals with an...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of Single Crystal MgO Capsules

A method has been developed for machining MgO crystal blocks into forms for containing metallic and silicate liquids at temperatures up to 2,400 ºC, and pressures up to at least 320 kilobars. Possible custom shapes include tubes, rods, insulators, capsules, and guides. Key differences in this...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Mars Aqueous Processing System

The goal of the Mars Aqueous Processing System (MAPS) is to establish a flexible process that generates multiple products that are useful for human habitation. Selectively extracting useful components into an aqueous solution, and then sequentially recovering individual constituents, can obtain a suite of refined...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

The NASA Human Space Flight program is interested in projects where humans, beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO), can make an important and unique contribution that cannot be reasonably...

Briefs: Materials

Bonding to aluminum can be a difficult task. Many engineers will search for a single and simple remedy in the form of a low-temperature adhesive for making structural joints without welding. A...

Briefs: Materials
Hybrid Filter Membrane

Cabin environmental control is an important issue for a successful Moon mission. Due to the unique environment of the Moon, lunar dust control is one of the main problems that significantly diminishes the air quality inside spacecraft cabins. Therefore, this innovation was motivated by NASA’s need to minimize the...

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