Materials & Innovations

Planning for Mars: Researchers explore thermal properties of cermet fuel that may be used in future nuclear propulsion systems

By Lisa McDonald / November 22, 2022

To achieve manned missions to Mars, spacecraft will need to maximize fuel usage. Nuclear thermal propulsion is one technology actively on NASA’s radar. In a recent study, researchers from Missouri S&T and NASA Marshall used a surrogate material to explore the thermal properties of a cermet fuel that may be used in future nuclear propulsion systems.

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Preparing for winter—hollow silica particles could form the basis of next-generation thermal insulation systems

By Lisa McDonald / November 4, 2022

Hollow silica particles exhibit lower thermal conductivities than current common thermal insulation materials, while also being easier and cheaper to fabricate than state-of-the-art insulating aerogels. Two recent studies demonstrate the work being done to develop stable and scalable hollow silica particle-based composites for next-generation thermal insulation systems.

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Thermoformed boron-based ceramics may offer new frontier in customized electronic components

By Lisa McDonald / November 1, 2022

The typically brittle nature of ceramics can hamper its formation into complex parts. Northeastern University researchers demonstrated that a highly oriented boron-based ceramic matrix composite can be shaped via thermoforming, which could hold implications for the electronics field.

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Nascent explorations: Injection molding may offer path to high-throughput manufacturing of transparent ceramics

By Lisa McDonald / October 7, 2022

Fabricating transparent ceramics is inherently challenging due to the excellent mechanical, thermal, and chemical stability of ceramics. Researchers in Germany showed powder injection molding could allow for high-throughput manufacturing of complex-shaped transparent ceramics.

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Video: First-of-their-kind drones can 3D print in flight

By Lisa McDonald / September 28, 2022

Using additive manufacturing to repair objects in difficult-to-access locations, such as at the top of tall buildings, is not convenient because the 3D-printing equipment cannot be transported there easily. An international team of researchers developed a swarm of cooperative, 3D-printing drones that can print materials for building or repairing structures while flying.

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Nanostructured diamond capsules maintain high-pressure samples for materials analysis

By Lisa McDonald / September 23, 2022

Preserving high-pressure states of novel materials at ambient conditions is a long-sought-after goal for fundamental research and practical applications. A recent joint project by researchers in China and the United States showed that properties of high-pressure materials can be maintained in free-standing, nanostructured diamond capsules without the support of traditional bulky pressure vessels.

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Direct ink writing opens the door to complex-shaped objects with isotropic structural color

By Lisa McDonald / September 2, 2022

Structural color is a more durable and less hazardous alternative to conventional pigments, but the angle-dependence of the color limits its broader application in synthetic systems. Researchers at ETH Zurich proposed a 3D printing process to create complex-shaped objects with angle-independent “isotropic” structural color generated from photonic colloidal glasses.

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Addressing the real problem: Through muscle regeneration, graphene-polymer matrix lowers risk of rotator cuff retear injuries

By Lisa McDonald / August 23, 2022

Most rotator cuff repair procedures focus on the tendon, but the real problem is that the muscle degenerates and accumulates fat. University of Connecticut School of Medicine researchers led by ACerS Fellow Cato Laurencin developed a graphene-polymer matrix that induces a reversal of muscle degeneration, thereby greatly lowering the risk of rotator cuff retear injuries.

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The future of building: Are bioceramic dome homes the answer to resilient and affordable housing?

By Lisa McDonald / August 16, 2022

With the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, architects will need to reconsider how buildings are constructed. California-based startup Geoship claims its bioceramic dome homes are not only disaster resilient but could help combat the affordable housing crisis.

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With safety and performance, ceramic batteries are in the works

By Jonathon Foreman / August 9, 2022

Substantial ceramics research projects are looking to address issues with current lithium-based battery technologies. A selection of recent papers in ACerS journals highlights some of the efforts toward new electrolyte, cathode, and anode materials.

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