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: Materials
Microsphere Insulation Panels

Microsphere insulation panels (MIPs) have been developed as lightweight, long lasting replacements for the foam and vacuum-jacketed systems heretofore used for thermally insulating cryogenic vessels and transfer ducts. Whether preformed or applied in place, foam insulation deteriorates fairly rapidly: on cryogenic...

In recent experiments, highly purified batches of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have shown promise as superior alternatives to the graphitic carbon-black anode materials heretofore...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Repairing Chipped Silicide Coatings on Refractory Metal Substrates

The space shuttle orbiter's reaction control system (RCS) is a series of small thrusters that use hypergolic fuels to orient the orbiter in space. The RCS thrusters are constructed from a special niobium-based alloy — the C-103. This alloy retains excellent mechanical...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Simplified Fabrication of Helical Copper Antennas

A simplified technique has been devised for fabricating helical antennas for use in experiments on radio-frequency generation and acceleration of plasmas. These antennas are typically made of copper (for electrical conductivity) and must have a specific helical shape and precise diameter.

A class of thermally stable piezoelectric and pyroelectric polymers, and an improved method of making them, have been invented. These polymers can be used as substrates for a wide...

Briefs: Materials
Combustion Synthesis of Ca₃(PO₄)₂ Net-Shape Surgical Implants

ASelf-propagating high-temperature combustion synthesis (SHS) is the basis of a method of making components of porous tricalcium phosphate [Ca3(PO4)2] and related compounds in net sizes and shapes for use as surgical implants that are compatible...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Submarine Design Certified on FEA and Sensor Testing

Submarine design typically follows American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) code, which establishes properties such as hull thickness, frame stiffness, and porthole and hatch design. During...

A methodology has been devised for designing cure cycles to be used in the fabrication of matrix/fiber composite parts (including laminated parts). As used here, “cure cycles”...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Attaching Thermocouples by Peening or Crimping

Two simple, effective techniques for attaching thermocouples to metal substrates have been devised for high- temperature applications in which attachment by such conventional means as welding,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Heat Treatment of Friction-Stir-Welded 7050 Aluminum Plates

A method of heat treatment has been developed to reverse some of the deleterious effects of friction stir welding of plates of aluminum alloy 7050. This alloy is considered unweldable by arc and high-energy-density beam fusion welding processes. The alloy can be friction stir welded,...

Experiments have shown that it is feasible to use oxygen radicals (specifically, monatomic oxygen) from mild oxygen plasmas to remove organic contaminants and chemical fabrication...

Briefs: Materials
Generating Aromatics From CO₂ on Mars or Natural Gas on Earth

“Methane to aromatics on Mars” (“METAMARS”) is the name of a process originally intended as a means of converting Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide to aromatic hydrocarbons and oxygen, which would be used as propellants for spacecraft to return to Earth. The process has...

Products: Materials
Multilayer Coating Capability

Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) has increased the company’s capacity to make complex coatings with more than 100 layers by adding a new 45-in. diameter Vacuum Process Technology coating chamber. The coatings can be applied to many categories of catalog parts, including polarizers, laser mirrors, short wave pass and...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ion Milling On Steps for Fabrication of Nanowires

Arrays of nanowires having controlled dimensions can now be fabricated on substrates, optionally as integral parts of multilayer structures, by means of a cost-effective, high-yield process...

Polymers having low color and a favorable combination of other properties, including high glass-transition temperature (Tg) and high mechanical properties (strength, tensile modulus,...

Briefs: Materials
Making Plant-Support Structures From Waste Plant Fiber

Environmentally benign, biodegradable structures for supporting growing plants can be made in a process based on recycling of such waste plant fiber materials as wheat straw or of such derivative materials as paper and cardboard. Examples of structures that can be made in this way include...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Manufacturing Precise, Lightweight Paraboloidal Mirrors

A process for fabricating a precise, diffraction- limited, ultralightweight, composite-material (matrix/fiber) paraboloidal telescope mirror has been devised. Unlike the traditional process of fabrication of heavier glass-based mirrors, this process involves a minimum of manual steps and...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Automated Solvent Seaming of Large Polyimide Membranes

A solvent-based welding process enables the joining of precise, cast polyimide membranes at their edges to form larger precise membranes. The process creates a homogeneous, optical - quality seam between abutting membranes, with no overlap and with only a very localized area of figure...

A liquid-chromatography technique has been developed for use in the quantitative analysis of urea (and of other nonvolatile organic compounds typically found with urea) dissolved...

A dry plasma process has been demonstrated to be useful for the selective modification of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiolates. These SAMs are used, during the...

Water-based pressure-sensitive paints (PSPs) have been invented as alternatives conventional organic- solvent-based pressure-sensitive paints, which are used primarily for indicating distributions of air...

A corrosion-inhibiting mixture of compounds has been developed for addition to the water used to rinse metal parts that have been cleaned with aqueous solutions in preparation for...

Briefs: Materials
Advanced Metal Foam Structures for Outer Space

A document discusses a proposal to use advanced materials — especially bulk metallic glass (BMG) foams — in structural components of spacecraft, lunar habitats, and the like. BMG foams, which are already used on Earth in some consumer products, are superior to conventional metal foams: BMG foams...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Small-Particle Powders for Plasma Spraying

Improved small-particle powders and powder-processing conditions have been developed for use in plasma spray deposition of thermal-barrier and environmentalbarrier coatings. Heretofore, plasmasprayed coatings have typically ranged in thickness from 125 to 1,800 µm. As explained below, the...

Three color-indicating devices have been conceived as simple, rapid, inexpensive means of detecting hazardous liquid and gaseous substances in settings in which safety is of paramount...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Controlling Force and Depth in Friction Stir Welding

Feedback control of the penetration force applied to a pin tool in friction stir welding has been found to be a robust and reliable means for controlling the depth of penetration of the...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Charge-Transfer Fluorescent Dyes

Improved charge- transfer fluorescent dyes have been developed for use as molecular probes. These dyes are based on benzofuran nuclei with attached phenyl groups substituted with, variously, electron donors, electron acceptors, or combi- nations of donors and acceptors. Optionally, these dyes could be...

A micromachining process for the fabrication of vibratory microgyroscopes from silicon wafers, and aspects of the microgyroscope design that are inextricably linked with the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Two Heat-Transfer Improvements for Gas Liquefiers

Two improvements in heat-transfer design have been investigated with a view toward increasing the efficiency of refrigerators used to liquefy gases. The improvements could contribute to the development of relatively inexpensive, portable oxygen liquefiers for medical use.

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