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Powder bed additive manufacturing method of fabricating a porous matrix

An addictive manufacturing method used to create lightweight materials with tunable physical properties.

Method for Commercial Production of Super-Hydrophobic Materials

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a novel method for industrial production of super-hydrophobic material.

Robust Superhydrophobic Coating for Aluminum Surfaces

This robust superhydrophobic coating is coated on aluminum surfaces by simple, low-cost chemical method. This coating demonstrates excellent hydrophobicity and enhances droplet shedding. By repelling water, it inhibits bacterial growth in heat exchanger fins surfaces. At the same time, with enhanced condensation, it greatly enhances overall heat transfer in air-side heat exchangers.

Processing Spinel-Less Thermal Barrier Coating Systems

This invention, intended for use in the processing of turbine engine blades’ thermal barrier coatings, is a two-step procedure used to produce a thermally grown oxide that is completely devoid of lifetime-limiting spinel oxides. Both steps take place at the same temperature used in present day bond coat pre-oxidation, utilize everyday gases, and can be performed serially in the same furnace, in a matter of hours. In step one, pre-oxidation of a bond-coated blade yields a thermally grown oxide (TGO) layer that contains a limited amount of spinel. In step two, all spinel is removed in situ. In an industrial-scale setup, the entire process would take place in less than 24 hours, including ramp times to and from the exposure temperature. Once blade specimens are cooled and removed from the furnace, they are then ready to be coated with the thermally protective yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) layer, using industry-standard techniques. Due to the nature of the process, no new spinel is expected to grow at the critical TGO–YSZ interface for as long as the part operates in service, which means that the blade will be completely spinel-less for its entire usable lifetime. By eliminating all spinel-related failure mechanisms, this may result in longer blade lifetimes and therefore significant cost reduction.

Liquid-Repellent Surfaces Made of Any Materials

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a structured surface that can be made of any material (but demonstrated with glass) that repels all liquids (even fluorinated solvents) without using any repellant coating.

Flexible Porous Aluminum Oxide Films

Ceramic materials are widely used because of their strength, dielectric properties, and ability to withstand high temperatures.  Ceramics can withstand a great deal of compressional stress; however, because ceramic materials are brittle and inflexible, they fracture under stress like glass and shatter if bent.  Flexible ceramic membranes combine the attributes of the high strength of ceramic materials with the elasticity of polymers, however, many of these materials are composite materials which have drawbacks in that the non-ceramic material is part of the film and cannot withstand high temperatures and are flammable.   UC Berkeley investigators have developed a reproducibly flexible porous aluminum oxide film that can be bent with a radius of curvature exceeding 0.2 mm.  These flexible porous aluminum oxide films are more robust and can withstand greater mechanical abuse.  The material can also stretch elastically the same amount as comparable porous polypropylene films, while withstanding over 100 times the external pressure and higher temperatures.   

Mechanochemical Synthesis of Mg2Si and Related Compounds and Alloys

Professor Kaner and colleagues have developed methods to synthesize substantially phase pure compounds of magnesium silicide and related alloys. The phase purity achieved by this method is unprecedented, and the yielded products are suitable to be used as thermoelectric materials in the mid- to high-temperature range (400 K to 800 K). 

Ceramic Materials with Improved Mechanical Properties and Electrical Conductivity

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a ceramic composite material with improved mechanical properties and electrical conductivity.

Ultra-High Strength, Energy-Absorbing Metal-Ceramic Composites

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and collaborators have developed a series of tri-modal composites composed of both metal and ceramic materials with ultra-high strength and unexpected ductility. This novel material will out-perform current structural materials, such as aluminum and steel in applications such as structures, structural armor, bumper guards and other energy-absorbing applications. The incorporation of nanocrystalline phases and multiple length scales results in improved material properties in this multiple-grain-sized composite, compared to their solely microcrystalline or nanocrystalline counterparts.

Magnetically Controlled Casting Process

Current casting methods that produce features in a solid material with rapid prototyping techniques require highly specialized and expensive equipment.  Further, these types of equipment must be programmed before each casting to achieve the desired results.  Also, these traditional casting processes are synthesized either through layer-by-layer deposition which can be very time consuming or by mixing non-soluble components together which leads to heterogeneities and reduction in performance.                                                  

Development Of Impact And Fracture Resistant And Tough Materials

Manufacturers have been looking for a next-generation of composite materials that can absorb the shock and impact of intense collisions and accidents.  Some plastic composites and metal alloys have offered the advantage of being light weight, but they are still limited in their ability to have comparable shock resistance to their heavier metal counterparts.  Further, their high costs have made them cost prohibitive for their limited benefits.                    

CeramicAsh: Material and Method

Researchers at UCLA have developed a method for reducing the manufacturing costs associated with chemically bonded ceramics. 

Ferroelectric Electron and Ion Generator for Small Applications

Ferroelectric, pyroelectric and piezoelectric crystals are used to generate spatially localized high energy (up to and exceeding 100 keV) electron and ion beams, which may be used in a wide variety of applications including pulsed neutron generation, therapeutic X-ray/electron devices, elemental analysis, local scanning chemical analysis, high energy scanning microscopy, point source compact transmission electron microscopy, compact ion beam sources, positron sources, micro-thrusters for ion engines, and improved fusion efficiency especially of the Farnsworth type. The high-energy emission can be created by simply heating the material or by application of external coercive electromagnetic and acoustic fields.

Efficient And Accurate Undercut Detection System

Molding and casting of parts can be done more simply and economically for parts that are free from undercut features, primarily because a more expensive multi-piece mold must be used for parts with such undercut features. Therefore immediate feedback to the designer about the presence of costly undercuts allows for their early removal in the design process. Without immediate and accurate feedback designers can wind up with high part costs, waste, and a complicated manufacturing process. UC Berkeley researchers have developed a design system, based on a sophisticated new algorithm that allows for very efficient and rapid identification of undercuts in 3D geometric models. The Berkeley system uses graphics acceleration to allow a user to rotate an object, examine the undercuts in real time and accurately identify undercuts on a pixel by pixel basis. The system also highlights the portions of faces, including curved faces, which have undercuts. Early detection and removal of undercuts ensures rapid development of the lowest cost design. The system can also be used as a subroutine in finding whether any under-cut free parting directions exist and for evaluating which is optimal if there are multiple choices. The ability to find the optimal direction along with pixel level accuracy makes the system highly desirable for designers.

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