Aeronautics & Space

Netzsch planning high-temperature materials conference this fall in Boston

By / February 24, 2011

Ultra-high temperature materials are required in hypersonic aerospace applications, such as NASA’s X-51A vehicle. Credit: NASA. Netzsch Instruments has announced that it is launching what I assume it hopes to be a regularly occurring conference on high-temperature materials, applications, testing, processing and diagnostics. Netzsch is calling the inaugural meeting “Hi Temp 2011” and will hold…

Read More

A cheaper, lighter, more efficient antenna

By / February 7, 2011

Credit: Penn State Isn’t there a law or something that prohibits using metamaterials for something other than invisibility cloaks?* According to Douglas H. Werner, professor of electrical engineering at Penn State, creating a new type of antenna is one of the first practical implementations of electromagnetic metamaterials that makes a real world device better. “These…

Read More

NASA solar sail lost in space

By / December 14, 2010

NASA’s first solar sail was scheduled to be released into orbit last week, but the space agency reports that it is unable to make contact. NASA cannot determine if the parent satellite that carried it actually ejected it into space. Sadly, all contact with NanoSail-D has been lost. NASA hopes to use the sail to…

Read More

The next frontier? Lunar mining for rare earth elements?

By / November 16, 2010

Lunar mining may be in our not-so-distant future, as evidence of rare earth elements is clear, and China tightens its exports, increasing demand worldwide. “We know there are local concentrations of REE on the moon,” Carle Pieters, a planetary scientist in the Department of Geological Sciences at Brown University, and principal investigator for NASA’s Moon…

Read More

Intriguing scientists and engineers among 2010 MacArthur ‘genius’ Fellows

By / September 29, 2010

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named 23 new MacArthur Fellows for 2010. Included in this list is John Dabiri whose work with fluid dynamics we’ve featured several times on this blog. Dabiri is a biophysicist who studies animal locomotion, specifically the movement of jellyfish. Dabiri has shown that explaining  the mechanisms of…

Read More

Mars cleaning tech offers method to sweep dust off Earth’s solar panels

By / August 25, 2010

PV panels on the Mars rover Spirit were covered with dust over a two-year period. Credit: NASA/JPL. Self-cleaning surfaces aren’t a particularly novel idea, and self-cleaning glass commercial products made by companies, such as Saint Gobain, have been around in various products for at least five years – but at a premium price. These technologies…

Read More

Solar sail uses smart glass to steer through cosmos

By / July 27, 2010

Artist’s conception of solar sail. (Credit: JAXA.) Japan has successfully deployed a solar sail on a spacecraft, demonstrating for the first time that such technology can be used to convert the sun’s energy to the power needed to move a vessel in the cosmos. As an added feature, the IKAROS spacecraft uses LCD technology to…

Read More

50 R&D 100 Awards given to national labs

By / July 22, 2010

Ultrasensitive Nanomechanical Transducers Based on Nonlinear Resonance, one of ORNL’s 2010 R&D 100 award winners. (Credit: ORNL.) R&D Magazine awarded DOE and other federal labs with 50 of its R&D 100 Awards. The awards, sometimes referred to as the “Academy Awards of Science,” are presented to those labs and companies that have been a major…

Read More

40 years and still growing: Polymer-derived ceramics field still on upswing

By / July 1, 2010

A quartet of researchers from Italy and Germany have published an fascinating overview of polymer-derived ceramics in the most recent edition of JACerS. Paolo Colombo, Gabriela Mera, Ralf Riedel and Gian Domenico Sorarù write in “Polymer-Derived Ceramics: 40 Years of Research and Innovation in Advanced Ceramics” (free access), that: “The polymer precursors represent inorganic/organometallic systems…

Read More

Electrostrictive ceramic actuators to shape mirror of next space telescope

By / April 28, 2010

According to a NASA Tech Brief, the Next Generation Space Telescope – aka, the James Webb Space Telescope – will be using electrostrictive ceramic actuators that can function at low temperatures to control the shapes of mirrors. The actuators, developed by two ACerS members, Maureen L. Mulvihill and Mark A. Ealey of Xinetics, a division…

Read More