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NASA - Materials to Enable NASA Missions
April 16, 2008

Materials research and technology at the NASA Glenn Research Center focuses on NASA and national needs for long-range technology innovation, basic research and project support. Our major focus is on advanced aerospace propulsion systems, as well as space lubrication, mechanisms and applications. By testing advanced materials in our extensive laboratories, we can determine the chemical composition and microstructure of advanced materials.

Currently, we are focusing on superalloys, intermetallics and new fibers to be used in engine components for the Space Shuttle and in advanced subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic aircraft propulsion systems. Polymer matrix composites are being investigated for potential use at 600 F in aircraft engines. We are developing tough, reliable, high-temperature ceramic composites for turbine engine and space propulsion systems, as well as ceramic and metallic coatings to protect these high-temperature composites from being damaged in corrosive and erosive environments where oxidation occurs. Because of our tribological (wear caused by friction and rubbing) experiments, we have a better understanding of the behavior of interfaces (solid-to-solid contact) in heat engines, aircraft components and space mechanisms.

Our research includes

  • Advanced materials (polymers, metals and ceramics) and composites
  • Environmental durability
  • Fatigue and fracture (life and reliability prediction)
  • Tribological (friction and wear) concepts
  • Materials processing, fabrication and testing
  • Computational materials
  • Techniques for analyzing materials (including nondestructive evaluation-techniques that do not damage the material being tested)
  • Materials laboratory facilities
  • Surface analysis, texturing and thin-film technology

Commercial applications include advanced automobile and truck engines, electronics, and advanced alloy saw blades for the U.S. lumber industry.

Related web pages:

+ Materials Division

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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator