Research

An image of an illustration of a BNNT

Boron Nitride Nanotube (BNNT)

Boron Nitride nanotube (BNNT) new material has all the characteristics desirable for extreme space environments, it’s stronger than diamond, does not burn up to 900°C, provides radiation protection and it’s very lightweight.It has been very difficult to produce high quality BNNTs until we discovered the high temperature pressure synthesis method.

Image demonstrationg a self healing material that has been penetrated by a bullet.

Self Healing Materials

Self-healing materials can be defined as a class of smart materials that have the structurally incorporated ability to repair damage caused by mechanical usage over time. The inspiration comes from biological systems, which have the ability to heal after being wounded.

An Image of a Carbon Nanotube pressure vessel and the images of fiber and molecular structure.

Carbon Nano Tube

The nanoscale mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes suggest their potential to significantly reduce structural mass. Recent advances at LaRC have resulted in specific tensile mechanical properties being competitive with state-of-the-art carbon fiber composites. Accelerated development of this material was enabled by multidisciplinary efforts coupling modeling with experiments. Scale-up of this high strength CNT yarn was demonstrated on a filament wound CNT composite overwrapped pressure vessel.

A picture of Near Net Integrally Stiffened Cylinders

Integrally Stiffened Cylinder Process

The integrally stiffened cylinder (ISC) process could lower cryogenic tank manufacturing cost by 50% and weight by 10%. These single-piece integrally stiffened tank segments have no welds and require minimal machining.

A beam laying down a molten wire for additive layer manufacturing

Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication (EBF3)

Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication (EBF3) is a large-scale metal deposition process that has been developed at NASA Langley since 2002. We have demonstrated fabrication of aluminum, titanium, nickel, stainless steel and copper alloys for components up to 2 ft by 4 ft by 2 ft in size. Recently we have demonstrated techniques for grading from one alloy to another (such as copper for thermal properties graded to nickel for high temperature strength) and are exploring non-traditional alloys and fabrication of complex geometries.

Image of ice on the wing of a plane

Coatings

To improve safety and vehicle performance, coatings are being developed and characterized to mitigate the 1) accumulation of extraterrestrial dust on spacecraft and astronauts and 2) accretion of ice and insect residue on aircraft.

Shields-1 radiation materials extends the life of CubeSats from months to years, increasing the science return on investment.

Shields-1

Shields-1 radiation materials extends the life of CubeSats from months to years, increasing the science return on investment.

An image of the latest version of MISSIE FF

New MISSIE FF

The Materials International Space Station Experiment–Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) accommodates materials technology experiments/samples for exposure in the space environment on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS).

New Materials through Synthesis

Physical Science Centric Discipline“The manipulation of atoms and molecules to produce new materials. Includes the development of new synthetic techniques and methodology, and equipment modification and customization.”

Academic Disciplines include Chemistry,Physics, Ceramics, Metallurgy, and Materials Science.

Technologies are resins (solid and liquid), metal alloys, ceramic solid solutions, coatings, adhesives, nanomaterials, molecularly engineered materials, elastomers, “active/smart” materials.

Products are powders, pellets, ingots, solutions, wafers and other stock forms of materials ready to be processed into test specimens.

synthesis pics

New Materials through Process

Engineering Centric Discipline “The creation of new materials through the processing or combining of stock materials into new forms. Includes the development of new fabrication techniques and technology.”

Academic Disciplines include Chemical, Ceramic, Polymer, Mechanical, and Metallurgical Engineering.

Technologies are processing parameter control, novel fabrication methods, scalable processes, new hybrid materials, bonding and joining technology, extrusion/injection surface engineering and preparation, and equipment design and modification.

Products are particulate, fiber and laminated reinforced composites, films, membranes, engineered surfaces, electrical, optical, and mechanical devices, and prototype structures.

Process

Characterization

Physics Centric Discipline “The analysis of material properties at scales from atomic through bulk. Includes instrument design, statistically based data reporting, and new test method development and validation.”

Academic Disciplines include Chemistry, Physics, Microscopy, and Materials Science.

Technologies are customized analytical equipment, unique property test-data sets, streamlining of verification procedures, forensic failure analysis, validation of new test methodologies.

Products are highly accurate and precise data, quality specimen development, unique analytical methods, accurate lifecycle testing, and a fundamental understanding of material properties and composition as tied to synthesis and processing.

Characterization

Computation

Numerical Methods Centric Discipline “The use of computation to simulate and predict the behavior and interactions of materials from synthesis and processing through lifing. Includes the input of experimental data and the development of computational and process control algorithms.”

Academic Disciplines include Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, and Computer Engineering.

Technologies are Interactive machine codes, database of experimental inputs and material properties, reduction in the amount of experiments to develop a new material or validate a result.

Products are faster development of new materials, process control algorithms, faster computational methods, increased predicative lifing capabilities, and the development of a Virtual lab.

computation