Materials & Manufacturing

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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

Carpetlike random arrays of metal-coated silicon nanotips have been shown to be effective as antireflection surfaces. Now undergoing development for incorporation into Sun sensors that would provide...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

An improved packaging approach has been devised for filling a hollow-core photonic-crystal fiber (HC-PCF) with a gas, sealing the HC-PCF to retain the gas, and providing for optical connections...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thermal Spray Formation of Polymer Coatings

This innovation forms a sprayable polymer film using powdered precursor materials and an in-process heating method. This device directly applies a powdered polymer onto a substrate to form an adherent, mechanically-sound, and thickness-regulated film. The process can be used to lay down both fully...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Displaying CFD Solution Parameters on Arbitrary Cut Planes

USMC6 is a Fortran 90 computer program for post-processing in support of visualization of flows simulated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The name "USMC6" is partly an abbreviation of "TetrUSS — USM3D Solution Cutter," reflecting its origin as a post-processor for use with USM3D...

Briefs: Materials

Nano-engineered catalysts, and a method of fabricating them, have been developed in a continuing effort to improve the performances of direct methanol fuel cells as candidate power...

Briefs: Materials

Capillography (from the Latin capillus, “hair”, and the Greek graphein, “to write”) is a recently conceived technique for forming mats of nanofibers into useful patterns. The concept was inspired...

Briefs: Materials

A method of making more-complex molecules from simpler ones has emerged as a by-product of an experimental study in outer-space atom/ surface collision physics. The...

Briefs: Materials

A family of aerogel-matrix composite materials having thermal-stability and mechanical-integrity properties better than those of neat aerogels has been developed. Aerogels are known to be excellent...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Nematic Cells for Digital Light Deflection

Smectic A (SmA) materials can be used in non-mechanical, digital beam deflectors (DBDs) as fillers for passive birefringent prisms based on decoupled pairs of electrically controlled, liquid crystalline polarization rotators, like twisted nematic (TN) cells and passive deflectors. DBDs are used in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible Structural-Health-Monitoring Sheets

A generic design for a type of flexible structural- health- monitoring sheet with multiple sensor/actuator types and a method of manufacturing such sheets has been developed. A sheet of this type contains an array of sensing and/or actuation elements, associated wires, and any other associated circuit...

Books & Reports: Materials
Lightweight Carbon-Carbon High-Temperature Space Radiator

A document summarizes the development of a carbon-carbon composite radiator for dissipating waste heat from a spacecraft nuclear reactor. The radiator is to be bonded to metal heat pipes and to operate in conjunction with them at a temperature approximately between 500 and 1,000 K. A goal...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Group-III Nitride Field Emitters

Field-emission devices (cold cathodes) having low electron affinities can be fabricated through lattice- mismatched epitaxial growth of nitrides of elements from group III of the periodic table. Field emission of electrons from solid surfaces is typically utilized in vacuum microelectronic devices, including some...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

This innovation consists of a set of methodologies for preparing large area (>1 cm2) domains of single-atomic-layer graphite, also called graphene, in single...

Briefs: Manufacturing & 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...

Briefs: Materials

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

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

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

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...

Briefs: Materials

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...

Briefs: Materials

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...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping

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...

Briefs: Materials

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...

Briefs: Materials

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...

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