Fabrication of Fiber-Metal Laminates with Non-Autoclave Processes
Fabrication of Fiber-Metal Laminates with Non-Autoclave Processes
The FMLs resulting from the NASA process have similar properties to traditionally produced metal/composite hybrid laminates including, as compared to either the composite or metal only structures, improved load carrying capability, lighter weight, improved stiffness, improved impact resistance and damage tolerance, and improved permeation resistance. The NASA process can be applied to various FML types, including GLARE (glass, aluminum, epoxy), and TIGR (titanium, graphite). Typical manufacturing processes are costly and complex shapes are hard to produce, whereby the NASA process enables use of these kinds of laminates without an autoclave or press, thus increasing the size that can be produced and decreasing the cost. The resin pathways in the foils enable connection between the plies that can improve the interlaminar strength of the final part. Functionally the NASA process creates resin columns in the transverse direction of the plies. NASA is working to optimize the final properties by varying the size and distribution of the pathways.
Friction Stir Welding Apparatus
Abnormal Grain Growth Suppression in Aluminum Alloys
Heat treatment of the deformed welds is desirable in order to restore the properties of the alloy negatively affected in the weld region. In these alloys, abnormal grain growth frequently occurs in friction stir welds during solution heat treatment, and is known to degrade key materials properties, such as strength, ductility and toughness. The innovation of inserting an intermediate annealing step covered here reduces abnormal grain growth during post-welding heat treatment, thereby allowing optimum mechanical properties. This is important where Al-Li alloys (and other heat treatable alloys) are friction stir welded followed by deformation processing and high performance, high reliability structural components are required for aerospace vehicles.
materials and coatings
Front Image ARC-16132-1
Surface Densification Of Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA)
The graded Thermal Protection System (TPS) offers a lower density than comparable state-of-the-art TPS systems operating at similar maximum heating conditions. This approach is straight forward in terms of processing and surface-treatment application and can be applied to machine PICA materials without having an effect on the final tolerance. The process results in increased usability and handling since standard uncoated PICA is relatively weak. Surface-densified PICA provides an approach for improvements in the robustness for the baseline CEV heat shield. A graded approach eliminates the need for joints and/or bonding agents between material plies. PICA surface densification offers robust mechanical protection against transit damage, handling damage, and in-flight object damage.
power generation and storage
solar cell
Advanced Efficiency Flexible Solar Film
By varying the number, type, orientation and functionality of various solar panel materials, a diverse family of devices can be constructed that can be tailored for many operational concepts. Various solar panel designs can be constructed that include active, cooling, and solar absorbance layers with tailored characteristics. This flexibility is achieved by arranging multiple solar absorbance layers that are coupled to polymer composite solar absorbance layers. The polymer composite can contain metal salts, oxides and/or carbon nanotubes as needed for various applications. The polymer can be chosen for flexibility or stiffness characteristics as needed by the designer. Configurations can include cooling layers with zinc oxides, indium oxides, and/or carbon nanotubes coupled between active layers. The carbon nanotubes can be aligned in a particular direction of the second cooling layer to achieve a heat flow bias. The cooling layer may be grooved to match other functional layers to increase the surface area for heat transfer.
Materials and Coatings
Self-Cleaning Coatings for Space or Earth
The new transparent EDS technology is lighter, easier to manufacture, and operates at a lower voltage than current transparent EDS technologies. The coating combines an optimized electrode pattern with a vapor deposited protective coating of SiO2 on top of the electrodes, which replaces either polymer layers or manually adhered cover glass (see figure on the right). The new technology has been shown to achieve similar performances (i.e., over 90% dust clearing efficiency) to previous technologies while being operated at half the voltage. The key improvement of the new EDS coating comes from an innovative method to successfully deposit a protective layer of SiO2 that is much thinner than typical cover glass. Using vapor deposition enables the new EDS to scale more successfully than other technologies that may require more manual manufacturing methods. The EDS here has been proven to reduce dust buildup well under vacuum and may be adapted for terrestrial uses where cleaning is done manually. The coatings could provide a significant improvement for dust removal of solar cells in regions (e.g., deserts) where dust buildup is inevitable, but water access is limited. The EDS may also be applicable for any transparent surface that must remain transparent in a harsh or dirty environment. The related patent is now available to license. Please note that NASA does not manufacturer products itself for commercial sale.
materials and coatings
Bug on metal
Chemical and Topographical Surface Modifications for Insect Adhesion Mitigation
The technology is a method of mitigating insect residue adhesion to various surfaces upon insect impact. The process involves topographical modification of the surface using laser ablation patterning followed by chemical modification or particulate inclusion in a polymeric matrix. Laser ablation patterning is performed by a commercially available laser system and the chemical spray deposition is composed of nanometer sized silica particles with a hydrophobic solution (e.g. heptadecafluoro-1,1,2,2-tetrahydrodecyltriethoxysilane) in an aqueous ethanol solution. Both topographic and chemical modification of the substrate is necessary to achieve the desired performance.
materials and coatings
Bugs on windshield
Hydrophobic Epoxy Coating for Insect Adhesion Mitigation
This technology is a copolymeric epoxy coating that is loaded with a fluorinated aliphatic chemical species and nano- to microscale particle fillers. The coating was developed as a hydrophobic and non-wetting coating for aerodynamic surfaces to prevent accumulation of insect strike remains that can lead to natural laminar flow disruption and aerodynamic inefficiencies. The coating achieves hydrophobicity in two ways. First, the fluorinated aliphatic chemical species are hydrophobic surface modification additives that preferentially migrate to the polymer surface that is exposed to air. Secondly, the incorporation of particle fillers produces a micro-textured surface that displays excellent resistance to wetting. Combined, these two factors increase hydrophobicity and can also be used to readily generate superhydrophobic surfaces.
materials and coatings
Cryogenic Pipe
Polyamide Aerogels
Polyamides are polymers that are similar to polyimides (another polymer that has been developed for use in aerogels). However, because the amide link is a single chain while the imide link is a ring structure, polyamide aerogels can be made less stiff than polyimides, even though a similar fabrication process is used. The precursor materials can be made from any combination of diamine and diacid chloride. Furthermore, NASA Glenn researchers have found methods for using combinations of diamines and disecondary amines to produce polyamide aerogels with tunable glass transition temperatures, for greater control of features such as flexibility or water-resistance. In the first step of the fabrication process, an oligomeric solution is produced that is stable and can be prepared and stored indefinitely as stock solutions prior to cross-linking. This unique feature allows for the preparation and transport of tailor-made polyamide solutions, which can later be turned into gels via the addition of a small amount of cross-linker. When the cross-linking agent is added, the solution can be cast in a variety of forms such as thin films and monoliths. To remove the solvent, one or more solvent exchanges can be performed, and then the gel is subjected to supercritical drying to form a polyamide aerogel. NASA Glenn's polyamide aerogels can be fully integrated with the fabrication techniques and products of polyimide aerogel fabrication, so hybrid materials which have the properties of both classes are easily prepared. As the first aerogels to be composed of cross-linked polyamides, these materials combine flexibility and transparency in a way that sets them apart from all other polymeric aerogels.
materials and coatings
Microscopic nano-texture of MAC
Molecular Adsorber Coating (MAC)
MAC is a zeolite based coating that captures and traps molecules in its microscopically porous structure. This microscopic nano-textured structure, consisting of large open pores or cavities, within a crystal- like structure, provides a large surface area to mass ratio that maximizes available trapping efficiency. MAC is a durable coating that is applied through spray application. These sprayable coatings eliminate the major drawbacks of puck type adsorbers (weight, size, and mounting hardware requirements), resulting in cost savings, mass savings, easier utilization, greater adsorber surface area, more flexibility, and higher efficiency. This coating works in air, as well as vacuum systems, depending on the application. There is potential for ground based spin-off applications of this coating, particularly in areas where contaminants and volatile compounds need to be collected and contained. Example industries include: pharmaceutical production, the food industry, electronics manufacturing (circuit boards and wafers), laser manufacturing, vacuum systems, chemical processing, paint booths, and general gas and water adsorption.
materials and coatings
Advanced Protective Coatings for Graphite-Based Nuclear Propulsion Fuel Elements
To protect the graphite (Gr)-based substrates in a nuclear systems fuel elements from hot hydrogen attacks, earlier researchers developed a method to deposit (via chemical vapor deposition) a protective niobium carbide (NbC) or zirconium carbide (ZrC) coating in the inner cooling channels of the fuel elements through which the hydrogen propellant flows. Unfortunately, the significant difference in the coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE) between the Gr-based substrate and the ZrC coating leads to debonding at intermediate temperatures, thereby exposing the substrate to hot hydrogen attack despite the NbC or ZrC coating. Innovators at Glenn have proposed a solution to this problem by introducing additional layers of compliant metallic coatings to accommodate the differences in CTE between the ZrC and the Gr-substrate,thereby potentially increasing life and durability. In this configuration,the innermost layer is composed of molybdenum carbide (Mo<sub>2</sub>C), and additional outer layers are made of molybdenum (Mo) and niobium (Nb) layers. The MoC acts as a diffusion barrier to minimize the diffusion of carbon into the refractory metal layers and the diffusion of Mo or Nb into the Gr-based substrate. The Mo layer is deposited on top of the Mo<sub>2</sub>C layer. A Nb layer is deposited on the Mo layer with the ZrC forming the outside layer of the coating. A thin Mo layer on the ZrC helps to seal the cracks on the ZrC and acts a diffusion barrier to hydrogen diffusion into the coating.The Mo and Nb layers are compliant so that differences in the thermal expansion of ZrC and other layers can be accommodated without significant debonding or cracking. They also act as additional diffusion barriers to hydrogen diffusion towards the Gr-substrate. Overall, Glenn's pioneering use of layered coatings for these components will potentially increase the durability and performance of nuclear propulsion rockets.
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