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.

Solar Power Industries' (SPI) current annual production capacity for processing polycrystalline silicon feedstock into completed solar cells has grown to 40 megawatts, with...

Briefs: Materials
Precipitation-Strengthened, High-Temperature, High-Force Shape Memory Alloys

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) are an enabling component in the development of compact, lightweight, durable, high-force actuation systems particularly for use where hydraulics or electrical motors are not practical. However, commercial shape memory alloys based on NiTi are...

A heat-storage module based on a commercial open-cell graphite foam (PocoFoam or equivalent) imbued with lithium nitrate trihydrate (LiNO3•3H2O) has been...

An improved method of filling a molding flask with sand and compacting the sand around a refractory- coated foam mold pattern has been developed for incorporation into the lost-foam...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Probe for Evaluating Compaction of Mold Sand

A nominally stationary tubular probe denoted a telescopic probe has been developed as an improved alternative to a prior movable probe used to evaluate the local degree of compaction of...

Polymer-based composite catholyte structures have been investigated in a continuing effort to increase the charge/ discharge capacities of solid-state lithium thin-film...

Briefs: Materials
Using ALD To Bond CNTs to Substrates and Matrices

Atomic-layer deposition (ALD) has been shown to be effective as a means of coating carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with layers of Al2O3 that form strong bonds between the CNTs and the substrates on which the CNTs are grown. It should also be possible to form strong CNT/ substrate...

Ceramic thermal and environmental barrier coatings (T/EBCs) that contain multiple layers of alternating chemical composition have been developed as improved means of protecting...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Micromachined Slits for Imaging Spectrometers

Slits for imaging spectrometers can now be fabricated to a precision much greater than previously attainable. What makes this possible is a micromachining process that involves the use of microlithographic techniques. This micromachining process supplants a prior machine-shop process.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabricating Nanodots Using Lift-Off of a Nanopore Template

A process for fabricating a planar array of dots having characteristic dimensions of the order of several nanometers to several hundred nanometers involves the formation and use of a thin alumina nanopore template on a semiconductor substrate. The dot material is deposited in the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Making Complex Electrically Conductive Patterns on Cloth

A method for automated fabrication of flexible, electrically conductive patterns on cloth substrates has been demonstrated. Products developed using this method, or related prior methods, are instances of a technology known as "e-textiles," in which electrically conductive patterns are...

The 2007 NASA Tech Briefs (NTB) and Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB) Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards were presented recently by the editors of NTB and PTB at an awards...

A family of polymer/ carbon films has been developed for use as sensory films in electronic noses for detecting SO2 gas at concentrations as low as 1 part per million...

Briefs: Materials
Organic/Inorganic Polymeric Composites for Heat-Transfer Reduction

Organic/inorganic polymeric composite materials have been invented with significant reduction in heat-transfer properties. Measured decreases of 20–50 percent in thermal conductivity versus that of the unmodified polymer matrix have been attained. These novel composite...

Briefs: Materials
Composite Cathodes for Dual-Rate Li-Ion Batteries

Composite-material cathodes that enable Li-ion electrochemical cells and batteries to function at both high energy densities and high discharge rates are undergoing development. Until now, using commercially available cathode materials, it has been possible to construct cells that have either...

A nickel-based superalloy that resists embrittlement by hydrogen more strongly than does nickel alloy 718 has been developed. Nickel alloy 718 is the most widely used superalloy. It...

Briefs: Materials
Chemical Passivation of Li⁺-Conducting Solid Electrolytes

Plates of a solid electrolyte that exhibits high conductivity for positive lithium ions can now be passivated to prevent them from reacting with metallic lithium. Such passivation could enable the construction and operation of high-performance, long-life lithium-based rechargeable...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Direct Metal Laser-Sintering of Titanium

During the first decade of direct metal laser-sintering (DMLS), the metals employed were generally ones developed specifically for DMLS, rather than those used in traditional metalforming methods. But...

A microfluidic system has been designed to survive spaceflight and to function autonomously on the Martian surface. It manipulates microscopic quantities of liquid water and...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabricating High-Resolution X-Ray Collimators

A process and method for fabricating multi-grid, high-resolution rotating modulation collimators for arcsecond and sub-arcsecond x-ray and gamma-ray imaging involves photochemical machining and precision stack lamination. The special fixturing and etching techniques that have been developed are used...

Composite truss structures are being developed that can be compacted for stowage and later deploy themselves to full size and shape. In the target applications, these "smart" structures...

Workers at NASA Ames Research center are endeavoring to develop durable, oxidation- resistant, foam thermal protection systems (TPSs) that would be suitable for covering large exterior...

Briefs: Materials
Molecules for Fluorescence Detection of Specific Chemicals

A family of fluorescent dye molecules has been developed for use in "on-off" fluorescence detection of specific chemicals. By themselves, these molecules do not fluoresce. However, when exposed to certain chemical analytes in liquid or vapor forms, they do fluoresce (see figure). These...

Briefs: Materials
Fuel-Cell Electrolytes Based on Organosilica Hybrid Proton Conductors

A new membrane composite material that combines an organosilica proton conductor with perfluorinated Nafion material to achieve good proton conductivity and high-temperature performance for membranes used for fuel cells in stationary, transportation, and portable applications...

Dr. William Farrell, a scientist with the Lunar Exploration Program at Goddard Space Flight Center, is an expert on the problem of lunar dust and its effects on astronauts and...

A continuing effort to develop carbon- nanotube-based field emitters (cold cathodes) as high-current-density electron sources has yielded an optimized device...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Eye On Innovation
By Dr. Udo Ungeheuer
Chairman of the Board
of Management
SCHOTT
Mainz, Germany

Many people consider the printing press developed here in Mainz, Germany, near the headquarters of SCHOTT, the...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
2007 NASA Tech Briefs "Create the Future" Design Contest

This year's sixth annual NASA Tech Briefs' "Create the Future" design contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp., recognized innovation in product design in six categories: Consumer Products, Safety & Security, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Sustainable Technologies, and...

Personnel Beacon/Locator for Mine Workers Joseph Hollmann
Spectral Biopsy
Kansas City, MO

When trapped, miners are instructed to create noise by...

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