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
Setup for Visual Observation of Carbon-Nanotube Arc Process

A simple optical setup has been devised to enable safe viewing of the arc and measurement of the interelectrode gap in a process in which carbon nanotubes are produced in an arc between a catalyst-filled carbon anode and a graphite cathode. This setup can be used for visually guided...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Manufacturing High-Quality Carbon Nanotubes at Lower Cost

A modified electric-arc welding process has been developed for manufacturing high-quality batches of carbon nanotubes at relatively low cost. Unlike in some other processes for making carbon nanotubes, metal catalysts are not used and, consequently, it is not necessary to perform...

Briefs: Materials
Brazing SiC/SiC Composites to Metals

Experiments have shown that active brazing alloys (ABAs) can be used to join SiC/SiC composite materials to metals, with bond strengths sufficient for some structural applications. The SiC/SiC composite coupons used in the experiments were made from polymer-based SiC fiber preforms that were chemical-vapor-...

Briefs: Materials
Composite-Material Tanks With Chemically Resistant Liners

Lightweight composite-material tanks with chemically resistant liners have been developed for storage of chemically reactive and/or unstable fluids — especially hydrogen peroxide. These tanks are similar, in some respects, to the ones described in — Lightweight...

Modifications of BN-based coatings that are used as interfacial layers between the fibers and matrices of SiC-fiber/SiC-matrix composite materials have been investigated to improve the...

Briefs: Materials
Fuels Containing Methane or Natural Gas in Solution

While exploring ways of producing better fuels for propulsion of a spacecraft on the Mars sample return mission, a researcher at Johnson Space Center (JSC) devised a way of blending fuel by combining methane or natural gas with a second fuel to produce a fuel that can be maintained in liquid...

Mats of free-standing manganese oxide (MnxOy ) nanowires have been fabricated as experimental electrode materials for rechargeable electro- chemical power...

Briefs: Materials
Personal Radiation Protection System

A report describes the personal radiation protection system (PRPS), which has been invented for use on the International Space Station and other spacecraft. The PRPS comprises walls that can be erected inside spacecraft, where and when needed, to reduce the amount of radiation to which personnel are exposed....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Passivating Stainless Steel Parts

Maximizing the natural corrosion resistance of parts and components machined from stainless steels. It can make the difference between satisfactory performance and premature failure. Incorrectly performed, passivation can actually induce corrosion.

For every challenge that may arise when attaching metal or plastic components, a hardware solution usually can be found. When permanently installed threaded hardware...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Method of Purifying Carbon Nanotubes

An improved method of removing the residues of fabrication from carbon nanotubes has been invented. These residues comprise amorphous carbon and metal particles that are produced during the growth process. Prior methods of removing the residues include a variety of processes that involved the use of...

A method and apparatus for the growth of carbon nanotubes or nanofibers in a desired pattern has been invented. The essence of the method is to grow the nanotubes or nanofibers by chemical...

Briefs: Materials
Lightweight, Rack-Mountable Composite Cold Plate/Shelves

Rack-mountable composite-material structural components that would serve as both shelves and cold plates for removing heat from electronic or other equipment mounted on the shelves have been proposed as lightweight alternatives to allmetal cold plate/shelves now in use. A proposed cold...

An electrochemical technique for deionizing water, now under development, is intended to overcome a major limitation of prior electrically–based waterpurification techniques. The...

Briefs: Materials
Safer Electrolytes for Lithium-Ion Cells

A number of nonvolatile, low-flammability liquid oligomers and polymers based on aliphatic organic carbonate molecular structures have been found to be suitable to be blended with ethylene carbonate to make electrolytes for lithium-ion electro- chemical cells. Heretofore, such electrolytes have often been...

A low-temperature plasma process has been devised for attaching specified molecular groups to carbon nanotubes in order to impart desired chemical and/or physical properties to the...

A recently invented method of fabricating periodic or otherwise ordered nanostructures involves the use of chaperonin polypeptides. The method is intended to serve as a potentially...

Briefs: Materials
Curing Composite Materials Using Lower-Energy Electron Beams

In an improved method of fabricating composite-material structures by laying up prepreg tapes (tapes of fiber reinforcement impregnated by uncured matrix materials) and then curing them, one cures the layups by use of beams of electrons having kinetic energies in the range of 200 to...

Briefs: Materials
Aluminum-Alloy-Matrix/Alumina-Reinforcement Composites

Isotropic composites of aluminum alloy matrices reinforced with particulate alumina have been developed as lightweight, high-specific-strength, less expensive alternatives to nickel-base and ferrous superalloys. These composites feature a specific gravity of about 3.45 g/cm3 and specific...

Fibrous-ceramic/aerogel composite tiles have been invented to afford combinations of thermal-insulation and mechanical properties superior to those attainable by making tiles of fibrous...

Briefs: Materials
Urethane/Silicone Adhesives for Bonding Flexing Metal Parts

Adhesives that are blends of commercially available urethane and silicone adhesives have been found to be useful for bonding metal parts that flex somewhat during use. These urethane/silicone adhesives are formulated for the specific metal parts to be bonded. The bonds formed by these...

A proposed thermal-bonding technique would make it possible to join or separate thermoplastic parts quickly and efficiently. The technique would eliminate the need for conventional...

A procedure now under development is intended to enable the precise alignment of sheet arrays of microscopic lenses with the end faces of a coherent bundle of as many as 1,000...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Automatic Control of Arc Process for Making Carbon Nanotubes

An automatic-control system has been devised for a process in which carbon nanotubes are produced in an arc between a catalyst-filled carbon anode and a graphite cathode. The control system includes a motor-driven screw that adjusts the distance between the electrodes. The system also...

Experiments have shown that composites of a silicone elastomer with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are significantly stronger and stiffer than is the unfilled elastomer. The large...

Briefs: Materials
Study of Rapid-Regression Liquefying Hybrid Rocket Fuels

A report describes experiments directed toward the development of paraffin-based hybrid rocket fuels that burn at regression rates greater than those of conventional hybrid rocket fuels like hydroxyl-terminated butadiene. The basic approach followed in this development is to use materials...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Thin, Flexible Heat Pipes

Flexible heat pipes of an improved type are fabricated as layers of different materials laminated together into vacuum-tight sheets or tapes. In comparison with prior flexible heat pipes, these flexible...

A method, now undergoing development, of forming nanochannels in planar substrates is intended to enable the fabrication of advanced fluidic devices that could be integrated with...

Semiconductor electronic devices and circuits based on silicon carbide (SiC) are being developed for use in high-temperature, high-power, and/or high-radiation conditions under which...

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