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
Modular Cryogenic Insulation

"Modular cryogenic insulation" denotes a chaff for installation in the partially evacuated annular spaces between the inner and outer walls of tanks used to store and transport liquid nitrogen and other cryogenic liquids. The insulating chaff was developed to replace low-density powders (e.g., perlite, silica...

Briefs: Materials
Model Simulates Semi-Solid Material Processing

David Spencer (MIT) developed semi-solid material processing through an accidental observation he made while dealing with the processing of metals in their mushy state. The semi-solid material process basically consists of two stages: pre-processing and processing. During pre-processing, the...

A method of packaging now under development would afford improved protection and functionality for miniature immersible diagnostic systems (MIDS). The method involves covering a...

Briefs: Materials
Lightweight Composite-Material Tanks for Cryogenic Liquids

A lightweight composite-material tank suitable for the storage and transport of liquid oxygen and other cryogenic liquids has been developed. The tank includes a metallic liner compatible with liquid oxygen, a graphite/ epoxy overwrap, an insulating layer of lightweight polyurethane...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Formulation and Deposition of Ablative Insulation

The term "Marshall Convergent Coating-1" ("MCC-1") denotes an improved formulation and a concomitantly improved method of spray deposition of a cork-and-glass-filled epoxy ablative thermal-insulation material. MCC-1 has been used on the space shuttle solid rocket booster and on some Air...

Corrosion of iron and steel substrates can be inhibited by coating them with any of the wide variety of compounds denoted generally as polyanilines. A polyaniline suitable for this type...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Coatings for Flexible Insulating Blankets

"ACE" (for "advanced ceramic engineered") denotes a type of coating mate-rial that increases the ability of flexible thermal-insulation blankets to resist erosion. Developed for use on the insulating blankets on the space shuttle orbiters, these coating materials could also be used on similar...

Woven fabrics comprising polybenzoxazole (PBO) fibers blended with other selected fibers have been found to exhibit combinations of properties that, in some applications, may be superior to those...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Glass Cure Plates for Fabricating Flat Composite Panels

Glass plates are used as cure plates in a modified process for the fabrication of flat composite-material (matrix/fiber) panels. In the unmodified previous version of the process the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Using Light To Fabricate Photonic Devices

A developmental apparatus and process for the fabrication of photonic devices utilize intense, focused laser light projected and/or diffracted in controlled patterns. The apparatus and process can...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Making Submicron Features by Ion Etching Through PMMA Masks

Experiments have shown that a substrate can be patterned with submicron features by the following procedure:

Briefs: Materials
Development of Progressive-Failure-Analysis Software

A report discusses the development of the GENOA-PFA computer program, which was described in "Software for Simulating Progressive Fracture in Braided PMCs" (LEW-16845), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 24, No. 3 (March 2000), page 52; and "Update on a Progressive-Failure-Analysis Software System...

A method of fabricating composites of pretreated silicon carbide fibers in silicon carbide matrices provides for the formation of improved boron nitride fiber/matrix interfacial layers....

Briefs: Materials
Carbon-Filled EPDM Rubbers as Ablative Insulating Materials

Carbon-fiber-filled polymers made from ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) have been found to be useful as ablative thermal-insulation materials. Like the silica-filled EPDM polymers described in the preceding article, these polymers have been investigated as candidates to replace...

Lightweight shields for electromagnetic interference (EMI) can now be fabricated from composites of (1) electrically conductive fibers made of bromine-intercalated graphite in (2) matrices...

Briefs: Materials
Composite-Material Pipes for Corrosive and Cryogenic Liquids

A flexible design concept and an associated method of fabrication have been conceived as means to satisfy growing demands for lightweight composite-material pipes for corrosive and cryogenic liquids. The design concept and method can be applied to produce piping systems capable of...

Briefs: Materials
Reactive-Ion Etching of Smooth Vertical Walls in Silicon

An advanced technique of deep reactive-ion etching (DRIE) has been developed for fabricating smooth vertical walls in silicon wafers. These walls are suitable for use as bounding surfaces of optical waveguides in photonic and optoelectronic devices. The roughness of a typical 8-µm-high...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Software for Designing Plasma Reactors for Microelectronics

Outer-space plasmas and arc-jet plasmas are well known to many researchers at NASA. Efforts to understand the structures of these plasmas have consumed years of research at various NASA laboratories. Computational modeling of such plasmas involves analyses of multicomponent,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Writing Circuit Patterns by Use of Scanning UV Lasers

Scanning ultraviolet (UV) lasers would be used to expose ultraviolet-sensitive photoresists to form patterns of conductors for electronic circuits, according to a proposal. Heretofore, such patterns have been formed by exposing photoresists to collimated ultraviolet or visible light through...

Briefs: Materials
Plasma CVD of Boron Carbide by Pulsed Secondary Discharge

An improved method of plasma chemical-vapor deposition (CVD) of a thin film of boron carbide has been devised. Boron carbide is useful because it is hard, is electrically insulating, withstands high temperature, and resists chemical attack. Plasma CVD of boron carbide involves the thermal...

Briefs: Materials
Nesting-Hoop Solar Sail

A report discusses a proposed nesting-hoop solar sail that would be used to propel a spacecraft on a deep-space mission. The nesting-hoop design concept was chosen as one that would afford a desired combination of small mass and compact stowage during launch. The sail would include multiple disks, each comprising a thin...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Gap Welding Preforms

Small, temporary, disposable inserts, called "gap welding preforms," have been proposed for use in attaching electrically conductive ribbons to radio-frequency (RF) electronic circuits. As explained below, the use of gap...

A program of research and development is addressing the feasibility of using magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) sources in the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of synthetic diamond films. Because of...

Briefs: Materials
Oxygen Batteries Based on a Solid Polymer Electrolyte

Scientists have developed a derivative of the lithium-ion cell that could prove useful in spaceflight and commercial applications in which it is planned to use oxygen batteries based on solid polymer electrolytes. This derivative cell, which contains a solid polymer electrolyte and an oxygen...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Maskless Gray-Scale X-Ray Lithography

In a proposed technique of maskless gray-scale x-ray lithography, a photoresist to be patterned would be exposed to a parallel beam of hard x-rays. As explained below, the photoresist would be translated across the beam at a varying rate to effect one-dimensional spatial variations in the radiation dose...

Polyimide-matrix/carbon-fiber composite materials with enhanced thermo-oxidative stability can be made from carbon fibers that have been coated with suitably formulated reactive...

Briefs: Materials
Enhanced Shield Against Meteoroids and Orbital Debris

NASA scientists, who are very concerned with the increasing hazard of impacts of orbital debris impact on spacecraft, have designed the "stuffed Whipple" shield — a lightweight, relatively inexpensive alternative to simple aluminum meteoroid/orbital-debris (M/OD) shield. The stuffed Whipple...

Improved zinc anodes for silver/zinc and nickel/zinc rechargeable electrochemical cells have been invented. This invention will increase the usefulness and decrease cycle-life costs of...

Briefs: Materials
Tape-Spring Reinforcements for Inflatable Structural Tubes

Lightweight, inflatable tubular structural components containing tape-spring reinforcements are undergoing development. The basic (without tape-spring reinforcement) tubular components are made, variously, of aluminum laminates or composite materials and are under consideration for use...

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