Photomicrograph of Plasma Metal Coated Fabric. Image credit: NASA
Fiber-Metal Laminate Manufacturing Technique
Fiber-Metal Laminates (FMLs) are composite materials that consist of conventional fiber reinforced plastics with the addition of a metal component, typically a foil or mesh layer(s). The metal component offers the advantage of incorporating metal-like properties to the composite construction. While a range of potential advantages and applications have been discussed for FMLs, the primary application to date has been for aircraft structures, with one potential advantage being the lightning strike protection (LSP) offered by the improved electrical conductivity. As aircraft construction has moved to composite structures, there has been an increasing need for such conductive composites. Similarly, with increasing use of composites for other large structures, e.g. wind turbines, there are an increasing number of potential applications for lightning strike protection materials. Other advantages of FML are improved impact and fire resistance. This innovation provides a method for making FML materials that incorporate nanotube reinforcement. The method involves the use of RF plasma spray to directly form and deposit nanotube materials onto fibers/fabrics, which can then be manufactured into composite structures by infiltrating the fiber with resin, and consolidating the structure via autoclave processing or via the use Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) composite manufacturing methods. Nanotubes incorporated into the structure in this manner can be of several types, for example boron nitride or carbon nanotubes. The objective of this innovation is to incorporate the nanotube materials in the FML in order to improve the mechanical properties.
power generation and storage
Front Image
Novel Dielectric Ceramic by Spark Plasma Sintering
Barium titanate ceramics have been used as a capacitor material for many years and are the mainstay for millions of chip capacitors used in systems today. The research behind the NASA Spark Plasma Sintered Dielectric Technology focused on optimizing the ferroelectric characteristics of barium titanate to expand its capabilities as an energy storage/device material. Initial research efforts resulted in a prior closely related NASA innovation, Solid-State Ultracapacitor for Improved Energy Storage (MFS-33115), whereby the NASA innovators developed a technology for close control of the polycrystalline microstructure and grain boundary composition of the novel barium titanate material. The current innovation builds on that work with the demonstration of the use of SPS as an additional component to providing a novel and unique composition and nano-scale microstructure. This current work began as a collaborative effort with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to evaluate SPS as an alternate method to densify the green nanopowder compact. Tests of the spark plasma sintered barium titanate materials have demonstrated gigantic permittivities, some of the highest ever reported, and very low dielectric losses. The NASA innovators continue to optimize the materials and processes to further understand and improve energy-storage density of the material.
Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Based Fabrication of Printable Electronics and Functional Coatings
Fabricating printable electronics and biosensor chips
The plasma system consists of a glass tube with a diameter of 0.5 mm or larger, if desired. The electrodes are separated by 10 mm. Helium, argon or cold dry air can be used as a plasma gas source. An applied high voltage between the electrodes causes the gas to breakdown within the central core of the glass capillary generating atmospheric plasma. Nanostructures colloids/organic/inorganic precursors are placed in a glass container with an inlet and outlet for carrier gas and are seated on an ultrasonic nebuliser. The aerosol is then carried into the plasma stream by the carrier gas and is deposited. The atmospheric plasma deposition system can be modified for depositing multiple materials, either simultaneously or sequentially, and for high-throughput processing by having multiple jets. Each capillary can either be connected to the container containing a single precursor material or to different containers containing different precursor materials to facilitate multiple depositions. The multi-jet plasma system can be automated and controlled individually to precisely control surface characteristics. This technique is independent of the chosen substrate, and has proven to work for many substrates, including paper, plastic, semiconductors and metals.
mechanical and fluid systems
Low-Cost, Long-Lasting Valve Seal
NASA's technique simplifies the seat installation process by requiring less installation equipment, eliminating the need for unnecessary apparatus such as fasteners and retainers. Multiple seals can be installed simultaneously, saving both time and money. NASA has tested the long-term performance of a solenoid actuated valve with a seat that was fitted using the new installation technique. The valve was fabricated and tested to determine high-cycle and internal leakage performance for an inductive pulsed plasma thruster (IPPT) application for in-space propulsion. The valve demonstrated the capability to throttle the gas flow rate while maintaining low leakage rates of less than 10<sup>-3</sup> standard cubic centimeters per second (sccss) of helium (He) at the beginning of the valves lifetime. The IPPT solenoid actuated valve test successfully reached 1 million cycles with desirable leakage performance, which is beyond traditional solenoid valve applications requirements. Future design iterations can further enhance the valve's life span and performance. The seat seal installation method is most applicable to small valve instruments that have a small orifice of 0.5 inches or less.
Stay up to date, follow NASA's Technology Transfer Program on:
facebook twitter linkedin youtube
Facebook Logo Twitter Logo Linkedin Logo Youtube Logo