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.

This invention is a highly stable, heat-treatable, and tunable material.
Changing directions of twist and coiling changes whether a material cools or heats.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Optically Fixable Shape Memory Polymers
These polymers can combine thermal and optically fixable shape memory.
Squid skin inspires a new material with heat-regulating properties.
When combined with saltwater, rust can be a source of electricity.
This technology has applications in sonar, range measuring, directional-force sensors, flow meters, and vibration/noise sensing and control.
Briefs: Aerospace
Durable Polyimide Aerogels
Stronger and flexible, polyimide aerogels provide insulation and structural support.
Briefs: Data Acquisition
Photovoltaic-Powered Sensors
RFID-based devices work in indoor and outdoor lighting conditions and could transmit data for years before they need to be replaced.
White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The Right Manufacturing Partner Can Save You Costs and Development Time

Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is fast becoming an essential part of the modern manufacturing toolkit because of the powerful advantages it offers. Industry...

Question of the Week: Imaging
Will the Ability to Manipulate Virtual Objects in Real-World Scenes Help Your Design and Manufacturing Efforts?

A Tech Briefs TV video this week demonstrated a Brown University system called Portal-ble. The augmented-reality technology allows you to place virtual objects within real-world backgrounds on smartphone screens. Users can then...

Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Aluminum Joining Methods: Welding vs. Adhesives
Our expert examines the pros and cons of welding, adhesives, and other metal joining methods.
Computed tomography is being used in the medical and industrial field. An expert explains how the two imaging techniques differ.
White Papers: Medical
Current Trends in Medical Kit Packaging

In days of yore, when house calls were common, physicians used black leather bags to tote instruments from appointment to appointment. Those medical bags are long gone, but the logic behind them - a...

What's the best aluminum for extrusion? A Tech Briefs reader asks our expert.

Inspired by a sticky substance that spiders use to catch their prey, a double-sided tape was developed that can rapidly seal tissues together within five seconds. The tape works much...

A team led by scientists at the University of Washington has designed and tested a 3D-printed metamaterial that can manipulate light with nanoscale precision. As...

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have reported a new mechanism to speed up the charging of lithium-ion batteries...

On-Demand Webinars: Medical
How 3D Printing Is Changing the Development of Orthopedic Devices

With the advent of 3D printing, prototyping orthopedic implants began to change. In recent years, it has been common to see a patient-specific 3D printed hip or knee created in order to reduce the number of implant options the physician has to choose from. But 3D...

A team in Germany has a quicker, cleaner approach to welding metal to plastic: The HPCI® Joining Gun.
Question of the Week: Aerospace
Will Entire Planes Be Built By 'Assembler Robots?'

Commercial aircraft are typically manufactured in sections, often in different locations, and then flown to a central plant for final assembly. Researchers at MIT are hoping to change that.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are employed to locate cancerous tumors and aid in the development of treatment plans, while nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) machines are used to...

In recent decades, NSF-funded researchers have discovered quite a bit, including many of the fundamental particles of matter.
A team of inventors found a fast way to join plastic to metal.
Products: Test & Measurement
New on the Market: November 2019
3D-printing platforms, simulation software, transistors, and more.

Contact lenses that can monitor the wearer’s health and correct eyesight use embedded electronics. These, and other curved devices such as solar cells and electronics, could be...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wind Event Warning System

NASA Langley Research Center developed a wind event warning technology that provides a practical early warning system (5-10 minutes) for a severe change in the wind vector. Events such as gusts, shear, microbursts,...

A fully print-in-place technique for electronics could enable technologies such as high-adhesion, embedded electronic tattoos and bandages with patient-specific...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Passive Smart Container

Although Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is being used widely for pallet and box-level tracking in the commercial sector, significant technology gaps remain for tracking dense quantities at the item...

See the eight winners of the 2019 "Create the Future" Design Contest

Videos