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Langley Wins NASA Government Invention of the Year Award

BNNTA Langley technology has been selected as the 2016 NASA Government Invention of the year! The winning invention, “Boron Nitride Nanotubes,” was developed through a collaboration between NASA Langley in Hampton, Virginia; the Department of Energy’s Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia, and the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton. Technology development was also supported in part by the Department of Energy, the Office of Naval Research and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The invention includes a novel approach to synthesizing high-quality boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) without a metal catalyst using a high pressure and temperature method. This is the first breakthrough discovery to produce high quality BNNTs without any catalyst at a scalable amount since the first BNNT synthesis was reported back in 1994.

Given the properties of BNNTs, they could also be applied in a number of different non-aerospace applications. Their impressive impact resistance and load distribution properties could be beneficial for antiballistic and automotive applications. There are also some possible medical applications for BNNTs.


Structure manufactured with EBF3 technology. Credit: NASA

The technology was licensed by BNNT, LLC of Newport News, Virginia in 2012.

The runner-up award also was given to NASA Langley for its “Solid Freeform Fabrication Apparatus and Methods; Closed Loop Process Control for Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication and Deposition Process; Use of Beam Deflection to Control Electron Beam Wire Deposition Process.” The technology is better known as EBF3.

EBF3, an additive manufacturing process, uses wire feedstock and an electron beam to build 3-D parts from computer-aided design software. The technology was originally developed for numerous NASA applications, such as large aerospace components and in-space manufacturing. However, it also has a wide range of potential down-to-earth applications, including automotive, industrial, and rapid prototyping.
See EBF3 in action in the video below!


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