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
Acid/Base Sensors Based on Poly(aromatic amine) Films

Chemiresistors containing poly(aromatic amine) films have been invented to satisfy a need for simple, inexpensive sensors for real-time measurement of parts-per-million and possibly lower concentrations of acidic and basic gases in air. These sensors could also be used to measure...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Anode Design of Rechargeable Li-Ion Cells

Several modifications of the basic design of carbon lithium-intercalating anodes with copper current collectors in rechargeable lithium-ion electrochemical cells have been proposed. These modifications are intended to prevent or at least retard the internal short-circuiting and consequent...

Briefs : Materials
Progress in Texturing by Use of Monatomic Oxygen

A report presents findings from recent research on the use of monatomic oxygen to form microscopic textures on the surfaces of polymers and extends the concept to some forms of carbon. Earlier developments in this field were described in two articles in NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 20, No. 11 (November...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabricating Refractory-Metal Solar-Engine Components by VPS

Vacuum plasma spraying (VPS) has been demonstrated to be an effective technique for the fabrication of refractory-metal components of solar-thermal engines. Heretofore, such components have been fabricated by specialized techniques that include electrical-discharge machining, shear...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Packaging of Silica Optical Fibers in Sensor Heads

A process for the fabrication of improved high-temperature fiber-optic sensor heads has been proposed. Fiber-optic sensor heads that can withstand hot, dirty, noisy environments are needed for advanced jet engines and stationary power-generating turbine engines.

Briefs : Materials
Improved Process for Scrubbing and Treating NOₓ Liquor

A new process and equipment have been developed for reducing the emissions of hazardous nitrogen oxides (NOx), and eliminating a hazardous waste stream. In this process, a waste gas stream of nitrogen and NOx, arising from spacecraft-propellant operations, is reacted...

Briefs : Materials
Rapid Densification of Ceramic Monoliths and Composites

A rapid densification technology uses nanostructured powders to produce ceramic devices and components. This technology provides ceramic monoliths and composites that can be used in the automobile, energy, electrochemical, magnetic, structural, biomedical, computing, information-transfer,...

Briefs : Materials
Metal- and Oxide-Containing Carbons Made From Graphite Oxide

Carbon-based materials containing, variously, metals and metal oxides can be synthesized according to a method that involves reactions of metal chlorides with materials of general composition COx. In a typical material synthesized by the present method, the carbon is porous...

Briefs : Materials
MoSi₂-Based Composite Materials for Aircraft Engines

MoSi2-based composite materials are among the advanced materials undergoing development as potential strong, stiff, lightweight replacements for the nickel-based superalloys now used in aircraft engines. Of the MoSi2-based composites, the most promising ones include...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Methods of Manufacturing Fiber Optic Components

The methods described are used with existing fiber optic technologies, and are based on several patents and on disclosures now before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The patents are No. 4,755,037 ("Fiber Optic Coupler," 1988); No. 4,765,816 ("Method and Apparatus for Making Optical Fiber...

Briefs : Materials
LaNi₅₋ₓGeₓ Electrodes for Ni/MH Electrochemical Cells

Experiments have shown that improved hydride-forming negative electrodes for rechargeable nickel/metal hydride (Ni/MH) electrochemical cells can be made by substituting Ge for some of the Ni in LaNi5. A similar discovery regarding the substitution of Sn for some of the Ni...

Briefs : Materials
LaNi₅₋ₓSnₓ Electrodes for Ni/MH Electrochemical Cells

Experiments have shown that improved hydride-forming negative electrodes for rechargeable nickel/metal hydride (Ni/MH) electrochemical cells can be made by substituting Sn for some of the Ni in LaNi5. Since the year 1988, it has been known that partial substitution of Sn...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Bond-Coat Layers for Thermal-Barrier Coatings

Current production thermal-barrier coatings (TBCs) have been shown to be capable of reducing the average temperatures of metallic components by 50 to 80 °C and hot-spot temperature by up to 140 °C. This substantial temperature reduction has been used to extend the life of metallic...

Briefs : Materials
Trading Risk Versus Cost of a Composite-Material Structure

A probabilistic method has been developed for use in designing a composite-material structure to achieve a balance between maximum reliability and minimum cost. This method accounts for all naturally occurring uncertainties in properties of constituent materials, fabrication variables,...

Briefs : Materials
Software for Probabilistic Analysis of Composite Structures

GENOA is an advanced, completely integrated, hierarchical software package for computationally simulating the thermal and mechanical responses of high-temperature composite materials and of structures made of those materials. The development of GENOA was guided partly by the need for a...

Briefs : Materials
Ion-Beam-Deposited DLC Coatings on Fine-Grain CVD Diamond

Ion-beam-deposited surface layers of diamond-like carbon (DLC) on fine-grain chemical-vapor-deposited (CVD) diamond have been found to be effective in reducing friction and wear in a variety of environments, including ultrahigh vacuum. This discovery opens the possibility of taking...

Briefs : Materials
Matrix and Coating Polymers for Composite LOX Containers

Two poly(arylene ether phosphine oxide)s (PAEPOs) have been found to be suitable as matrix and coating materials for composite-material (matrix/fiber) tanks and pipes that contain liquid oxygen (LOX). One of these PAEPOs is denoted by the trade name "Triton Oxygen Resistant" (TOR); this...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Apparatus for Coating and Cold Welding in Vacuum

The figure illustrates selected aspects of a manually actuated apparatus for use in coating two small objects with suitable metals, then forcing the two objects together at the coated flat surfaces with uniform pressure to cold-weld them to each other. The design of this apparatus provides for...

Briefs : Materials
Device for High-Pressure Fused Deposition of Engineering Polymers From Feed Rods

A more versatile delivery system for fused deposition has recently been developed. This system uses a very stiff, precise, and compact actuator to drive a small piston/cylinder extruder that has a heated nozzle. Because feed rods are used as the feed material, this...

Briefs : Materials
Reducing CTE Mismatch Between Coatings and Si-Based Ceramics

Two techniques have been proposed to reduce thermal-expansion mismatches between (a) substrates made of silicon, silicon-based ceramics, and silicon-based-ceramic composite materials and (b) surface coats that protect the substrates against chemical attack in oxidizing and/or...

Briefs : Materials
Single Crystal Nickel-Base Superalloy

A modified alloy, known as Modified PWA1484, is a single-crystal nickel-base superalloy, developed under a NASA Marshall Space Flight Center contract for use as a turbine blade and vane alloy for the space-shuttle main engine(SSME). This alloy is a modified PWA 1484 composition that uses innovative...

Briefs : Materials
Muscle Wires for Planetary-Exploration Robots

A report proposes the use of muscle wires as mechanical actuators for planetary-exploration robots. Muscle wires are commercially available in kit form in the hobby market, and have been described (though not explicitly called "muscle wires") in previous articles in NASA Tech Briefs. A muscle wire...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Magnetron Plasma Etching of SiC for Microfabrication

Magnetron plasma etching has been found to be a promising technique for micromachining of single-crystal silicon carbide to fabricate microscopic structures comprising integrated mechanical, electronic, and/or optical devices. Silicon carbide offers several advantages over silicon for the...

Briefs : Materials
Advanced Cryogenic Insulation System for Graphite/Organic Resin Composite Cryogenic-Tank Structures

Engineers at Rockwell International Corporation's Space System Division have developed a new method of insulating composite structural material that will stand up to the harsh environment of space. The new liquid-hydrogen cryogenic tankage...

Briefs : Materials
High-Tg Thermosetting Polyimide

A thermosetting polyimide called "DMBZ-15" has been developed for use as a matrix material in relatively inexpensive matrix/fiber composite materials. The glass-transition temperature (Tg) of DMBZ-15 is 414°C. In contrast, the industry standard polyimide for such composites (developed in 1971 at Lewis...

Briefs : Materials
Joining of SiC-Based Ceramic and Fiber-Reinforced Composite Parts

A process that involves reaction forming has been devised to enable the joining of high-temperature-resistant structural parts made of SiC-based materials. These materials include SiC-based ceramics and composites reinforced by fibers that are made of various component materials...

Briefs : Materials
Fiber-Reinforced-Plastic/Concrete Structural Members

Improved concrete structural members such as columns, piers, and piles can be manufactured by incorporating fiber-reinforced-plastic (FRP) exterior shells and FRP interior submembers. The FRP components impart greater compressive, flexural and shear strengths and ductility to a concrete...

Briefs : Materials
Creep-Resistant Ceramic Composite for High-Temperature Use

A low-density, creep-resistant ceramic composite material has been developed as a prototype of such materials for use at high temperatures in the next generation of aircraft engines. The material consists of Nextel (or equivalent) ceramic fibers in a matrix that is, itself, a composite...

Briefs : Materials
Nearly Isotropic Resin-Transfer-Molded Composites

Nearly isotropic matrix/fiber composite materials can be made quickly and at relatively low cost by resin-transfer molding. The fiber components of these materials are fine, loosely woven, three-dimensional preforms; the matrix components are epoxy or polycyanate resins. With proper tooling,...

Briefs : Materials
Iron-Containing Carbon Materials Made From Graphite Fluoride

Experiments have shown that carbon-based materials containing pure metallic iron, alloys of iron, halides of iron, and/or oxides of iron can be synthesized from precursors of general composition CFx, denoted loosely as graphite fluoride. Typical samples of the product...