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.

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
2010 Create the Future Design Contest Grand Prize Winner
Salim Nasser
Merritt Island, FL

There are approximately 1.8 million manual wheelchair users in the United States, and that number is expected to grow at a rate of 10% annually....

BreezeRite Air Filtration Module Rob Luchsinger
Pipe Creek, TX

BreezeRite, an indoor air modular filtration system, attaches to new or existing ceiling fans,...

The development of more efficient thermoelectric couple technology capable of operating with high-grade heat sources up to 1,275 K is key to improving...

Briefs: Materials
Modeling of Alkane Oxidation Using Constituents and Species

It is currently not possible to perform simulations of turbulent reactive flows due in particular to complex chemistry, which may contain thousands of reactions and hundreds of species. This complex chemistry results in additional differential equations, making the numerical solution of...

Briefs: Materials
A Computer Model for Analyzing Volatile Removal Assembly

A computer model simulates reactional gas/liquid two-phase flow processes in porous media. A typical process is the oxygen/wastewater flow in the Volatile Removal Assembly (VRA) in the Closed Environment Life Support System (CELSS) installed in the International Space Station (ISS). The...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electrochemical Hydrogen Peroxide Generator

Two-electron reduction of oxygen to produce hydrogen peroxide is a much researched topic. Most of the work has been done in the production of hydrogen peroxide in basic media, in order to address the needs of the pulp and paper industry. However, peroxides under alkaline conditions show poor...

Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and high-throughput manufacturing techniques for integrating single, aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs)...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process To Create High-Fidelity Lunar Dust Simulants

A method was developed to create high-fidelity lunar dust simulants that better match the unique properties of lunar dust than the existing simulants. The new dust simulant is designed to more closely approximate the size, morphology, composition, and other important properties of lunar dust...

Briefs: Materials
Lithium-Ion Electrolytes Containing Phosphorous-Based, Flame-Retardant Additives

Future NASA missions aimed at exploring Mars, the Moon, and the outer planets require rechargeable batteries that can operate over a wide temperature range (–60 to +60 °C) to satisfy the requirements of various applications. In addition, many of these...

Briefs: Materials
Straight-Pore Microfilter With Efficient Regeneration

A novel, high-efficiency gas particulate filter has precise particle size screening, low pressure drop, and a simple and fast regeneration process. The regeneration process, which requires minimal material and energy consumption, can be completely automated, and the filtration performance can...

Briefs: Materials
Determining Shear Stress Distribution in a Laminate

A “simplified shear solution” method approximates the through-thickness shear stress distribution within a composite laminate based on an extension of laminated beam theory. The method does not consider the solution of a particular boundary value problem; rather, it requires only knowledge...

Briefs: Materials
InGaP Heterojunction Barrier Solar Cells

A new solar-cell structure utilizes a single, ultra-wide well of either gallium arsenide (GaAs) or indium-galliumphosphide (InGaP) in the depletion region of a wide bandgap matrix, instead of the usual multiple quantum well layers. These InGaP barrier layers are effective at reducing diode dark current,...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Is It Time to Try Direct Digital Manufacturing?

Over the past 20 years, additive manufacturing technology has migrated from use in rapid prototyping to a full-fledged manufacturing solution, which is referred to as “direct digital...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Producing Hydrogen by Plasma Pyrolysis of Methane

Plasma pyrolysis of methane has been investigated for utility as a process for producing hydrogen. This process was conceived as a means of recovering hydrogen from methane produced as a...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Self-Deployable Membrane Structures

Currently existing approaches for deployment of large, ultra-lightweight gossamer structures in space rely typically upon electromechanical mechanisms and mechanically expandable or inflatable booms for deployment and to maintain them in a fully deployed, operational configuration. These support structures,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Reactivation of a Tin-Oxide-Containing Catalyst

The electrons in electric-discharge CO2 lasers cause dissociation of some CO2 into O2 and CO, and attach themselves to electronegative molecules such as O2, forming negative O2 ions, as well as larger negative ion clusters by collisions with CO...

Briefs: Materials
Low-Outgassing Adhesives

Products and manufacturing processes can be sensitive to outgassed chemical compounds, resulting in the use of adhesives, encapsulants, and sealants that have been specially formulated for low-outgassing performance....

Briefs: Materials
Functionalization of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes by Photo-Oxidation

A new technique for carbon nanotube oxidation was developed based upon the photo-oxidation of organic compounds. The resulting method is more benign than conventional oxidation approaches and produces single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) with higher levels of oxidation.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Nearly Seamless Vacuum-Insulated Boxes

A design concept, and a fabrication process that would implement the design concept, have been proposed for nearly seamless vacuum-insulated boxes that could be the main structural components of a variety of controlled-temperature containers, including common household refrigerators and insulating...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fast-Response-Time Shape-Memory-Effect Foam Actuators

Bulk shape memory alloys, such as Nitinol or CuAlZn, display strong recovery forces undergoing a phase transformation after being strained in their martensitic state. These recovery...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Non-Pyrotechnic Zero-Leak Normally Closed Valve

This valve is designed to create a zero-leak seal in a liquid propulsion system that is a functional replacement for the normally closed pyrovalve. Unlike pyrovalves, Nitinol is actuated by simply heating the material to a certain temperature, called the transition temperature. Like a pyrovalve,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Quick-Change Ceramic Flame Holder for High-Output Torches

Researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center have developed a new ceramic design flame holder with a service temperature of 4,000 °F (2,204 °C). The combination of high strength and high temperature capability, as well as a twist-lock mounting method to the steel burner, sets this...

Briefs: Materials
Magnesium Diboride Current Leads

A recently discovered superconductor, magnesium diboride (MgB2), can be used to fabricate conducting leads used in cryogenic applications. Discovered to be superconducting in 2001, MgB2 has the advantage of remaining superconducting at higher temperatures than the previously used material,...

Briefs: Materials
Polyimide Aerogels With Three-Dimensional Cross-Linked Structure

Polyimide aerogels with three-dimensional cross-linked structure are made using linear oligomeric segments of polyimide, and linked with one of the following into a 3D structure: trifunctional aliphatic or aromatic amines, latent reactive end caps such as nadic anhydride or...

Sublimation is a major cause of degradation of thermoelectric power generation systems. Most thermoelectric materials tend to have peak values at the temperature...

Briefs: Materials
Silica/Polymer and Silica/Polymer/Fiber Composite Aerogels

Aerogels that consist, variously, of neat silica/polymer alloys and silica/polymer alloy matrices reinforced with fibers have been developed as materials for flexible thermal-insulation blankets. In comparison with prior aerogel blankets, these aerogel blankets are more durable and less...

Briefs: Materials
High-Temperature Solid Lubricant Coating

NASA PS400 is a solid lubricant coating invented for high-temperature tribological applications. This plasma-sprayed coating is a variant of the previously patented PS304 coating, and has been formulated to provide higher density, smoother surface finish, and better dimensional stability.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Processing Nanostructured Sensors Using Microfabrication Techniques

Standard microfabrication techniques can be implemented and scaled to help assemble nanoscale microsensors. Currently nanostructures are often deposited onto materials primarily by adding them to a solution, then applying the solution in a thin film. This results in random...

Modular, lightweight, fully equipped buildings comprising hybrids of rigid and inflatable structures can be assembled on Earth and then transported to and deployed on the Moon for use...

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