materials and coatings
Origami-based Deployable Fiber Reinforced Composites
Deployable space structures often rely upon telescoping or folding structures that either must be manually deployed or deployed by attached motors. These structures are often made from heavier (relative to carbon fiber composites) metals to provide enough strength to support a load. As such, there is a need for in-space structures that are lightweight, can be packaged compactly, and can be deployed easily. The composite material developed here does not require high temperature baking to cure the polymer, rather relying on UV light to solidify the polymer component. The composite is then included into origami-based structures that can fold and deploy using the polymer shape memory effect. The composite is first trained to assume the deployed structural shape when heated; it is then folded like origami and frozen into the packaged shape for storage and launch. Combining the composite material with the origami-inspired design leads to high strength structures (can hold at least 600 kg on Earth). To date, a ~5-inch prototype structural bar has been produced using the UV-curable composite and further development is on-going at NASA Langley. The deployable origami composite structures are at technology readiness level (TRL) 4 (component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment) and are available for patent licensing.
Compact, Lightweight, CMC-Based Acoustic Liner
NASA researchers are extending an existing oxide/oxide CMC sandwich structure concept that provides mono-tonal noise reduction. That oxide/oxide CMC has a density of about 2.8 g/cc versus the 8.4 g/cc density of a metallic liner made of IN625, thus offering the potential for component weight reduction. The composites have good high-temperature strength and oxidation resistance, allowing them to perform as core liners at temperatures up to 1000°C (1832°F). NASA's innovation uses cells of different lengths or effective lengths within a compact CMC-based liner to achieve broadband noise reduction. NASA has been able to optimize the performance of the proposed acoustic liner by using improved design tools that help reduce noise over a specified frequency range. One such improvement stems from the enhanced understanding of variable-depth liners, including the benefits of alternate channel shapes/designs (curved, bent, etc.). These new designs have opened the door for CMC-based acoustic liners to offer core engine noise reduction in a lighter, more compact package. As a first step toward demonstrating advanced concepts, an oxide/oxide CMC acoustic testing article with different channel lengths was tested. Bulk absorbers could also be used, either in conjunction with or in place of the liners internal chambers, to reduce noise further if desired.
materials and coatings
Highly Thermal Conductive Polymeric Composites
There has been much interest in developing polymeric nanocomposites with ultrahigh thermal conductivities, such as with exfoliated graphite or with carbon nanotubes. These materials exhibit thermal conductivity of 3,000 W/mK measured experimentally and up to 6,600 W/mK predicted from theoretical calculations. However, when added to polymers, the expected thermal conductivity enhancement is not realized due to poor interfacial thermal transfer. This technology is a method of forming carbon-based fillers to be incorporated into highly thermal conductive nanocomposite materials. Formation methods include treatment of an expanded graphite with an alcohol/water mixture followed by further exfoliation of the graphite to form extremely thin carbon nanosheets that are on the order of between about 2 and about 10 nanometers in thickness. The carbon nanosheets can be functionalized and incorporated as fillers in polymer nanocomposites with extremely high thermal conductivities.
Cryostat-100 combines the best features of previous cryostats developed by NASA, while offering new features and conveniences. This unit can readily handle the full range of cryogenic-vacuum conditions over several orders of magnitude of heat flux. Guide rings, handling tools, and other design items make insulation change-out and test measurement verification highly reliable and efficient to operate. The new apparatus requires less ancillary equipment (it is not connected to storage tank, phase separator, subcooler, etc.) to operate properly. It is top-loading, which makes disassembly, change-out, and instrumentation hook-up much faster. The thermal stability is improved because of internal vapor plates, a single-tube system of filling and venting, bellows feed-throughs, Kevlar thread suspensions, and heavy-wall stainless-steel construction. The cold mass of Cryostat-100 is 1m long, with a diameter of 168 mm. The test articles can therefore be of a corresponding length and diameter, with a nominal thickness of 25.4 mm. Shorter lengths are acceptable, and thicknesses may be from 0 mm to 50 mm. Tests are conducted from ambient pressure (760 torr) to high vacuum (below 110-4 torr) and at any vacuum pressure increment between these two extremes. The residual gas (and purge gas) is typically nitrogen but can be any purge gas, such as helium, argon, or carbon dioxide. Typically, eight cold vacuum pressures are performed for each test series. The warm boundary temperature is approximately 293 K, and the cold boundary temperature is approximately 78 K. The delta temperature for the cryogenic testing is therefore approximately 215 K. A unique lift mechanism provides for change-out of the insulation test specimens. It also provides for maintenance and other operations in the most effective and time-efficient ways. The lift mechanism is also a key to the modularity of the overall system.
Scintillating Quantum Dots for Imaging X-rays (SQDIX) for Aircraft Inspection
The SQDIX system is an enabling technology that will have game-changing impacts across many fields including DoE, DoD, NASA, medical imaging fields, aircraft inspection and many other fields. StQDs are sensitive to x-ray radiation and emit visible photons that are tunable in wavelength. Development of this technology will greatly impact NASAs ability to use X-Rays as an inspection method. This directly addresses the Aviation Safety challenge in the 2010 National Aeronautics R&D Plan to monitor and assess the health of aircraft more efficiently and effectively as well as all NASA spaceflights beyond earths magnetic field.
Method of Non-Destructive Evaluation of Composites
Guided wavefield techniques require excitation of guided waves in a specimen via contact or noncontact methods (such as attached piezoelectric transducers or laser generation). The resulting wavefield is recorded via noncontact methods such as laser Doppler vibrometry or air-coupled ultrasound. If the specimen contains damage, the waves will interact with that damage, resulting in an altered wavefield (compared to the pristine case). When guided wave modes enter into a delaminated region of a composite the energy is split above/below delaminations and travels through the material between delaminations. Some of the energy propagates beyond the delamination and re-emerges as the original guided wave modes. However, a portion of the wave energy is trapped as standing waves between delaminations. The trapped waves slowly leak from the delaminated region, but energy remains trapped for some time after the incident waves have propagated beyond the damage region. Simulation results show changes in the trapped energy at the composite surface when additional delaminations exist through the composite thickness. The results are a preliminary proof-of-concept for utilizing trapped energy measurements to identify the presence of hidden delaminations when only single-sided access is available to a component/vehicle. Currently, no other single-sided field-applicable NDT techniques exist for identifying hidden delamination damage.
A One-piece Liquid Rocket Thrust Chamber Assembly
The one-piece multi-metallic composite overwrap thrust chamber assembly is centrally composed of an additively manufactured integral-channeled copper combustion chamber. The central chamber is being manufactured using a GRCop42 or GRCop84 copper-alloy additive manufacturing technology previously developed by NASA. A bimetallic joint (interface) is then built onto the nozzle end of the chamber using bimetallic additive manufacturing techniques. The result is a strong bond between the chamber and the interface with proper diffusion at the nozzle end of the copper-alloy. The bimetallic interface serves as the foundation of a freeform regen nozzle. A blown powder-based directed energy deposition process (DED) is used to build the regen nozzle with integral channels for coolant flow. The coolant circuits are closed with an integral manifold added using a radial cladding operation. To complete the TCA, the entire assembly including the combustion chamber and regen nozzle is wrapped with a composite overwrap capable of sustaining the required pressure and temperature loads.
materials and coatings
High Efficiency Tantalum-based Ceramic Composite (HETC) Structures
The various embodiments of this technology include insulating composites capable of surviving high heating rates and large thermal gradients in the aeroconvective heating environment that entry vehicles are exposed to characteristically. The tantalum-based ceramics contain tantalum disilicide, borosilicate glass and, optionally, molybdenum disilicide. The components are milled, along with a processing aid to facilitate sintering, then applied to a surface of a porous substrate, such as a fibrous or open-pored silica, carbon, aluminosilicate, silicon carbide or silicon oxycarbide substrate, as well as other substrates of silicon/carbon compositions. Following application, the coating is then sintered on the substrate. The composite structure is substantially impervious to hot gas penetration and capable of surviving high heat fluxes.
materials and coatings
Exfoliated Hexagonal Boron Nitride
The invented method involves mechanical breakdown of large hBN particles followed by chemical functionalization to achieve exfoliation of the hBN sheets. The exfoliated h- nanosheets are of mono- or few atomic layers thick, and dispersible (or suspendable, soluble) in common organic solvents and/or water, depending upon the nature of the functionalities. The functionalities can be subsequently removed by thermal treatment, with the hBN nanostructures remaining intact and exfoliated.
materials and coatings
Negative Dielectric Constant Material
Metamaterials or artificial Negative Index Materials (NIM) are specially designed to exhibit a negative index of refraction, which is a property not found in any known naturally occurring material. These artificially configured composites have a potential to fill voids in the electromagnetic spectrum where conventional material cannot access a response, and enable the construction of novel devices such as microwave circuits and antenna components. The negative effective dielectric constant is a very important key for creating materials with a negative refractive index. However, current methods to achieve a negative effective dielectric constant are difficult to produce, not readily applicable to producing commercial metamaterials, and can have limited tunabilty. This invention is for a novel method to produce a material with a negative dielectric constant by doping ions into polymers, such as with a protonated poly(benzimidazole) (PBI), without complex geometric structures. The doped PBI shows a negative dielectric constant at megahertz (MHz) frequencies due to its reduced plasma frequency and an induction effect. The magnitude of the negative dielectric constant and the resonance frequency are tunable by dopant type and doping concentration.