Materials Science



Blood Surrogate - In 1985, NRL developed synthetic red cells as a potential blood surrogate, which is storable many times longer than regular blood and is targeted for use in combat casualty care or domestic emergency trauma care.

Permanent Magnet - NRL researchers were the first to study the magnetic properties of rare earth-iron-boron alloys, which showed promise for permanent magnet use. NRL scientists hold the fundamental U.S. patents on these materials.

Purple-K-Powder - Using NRL's Purple-K dry chemical powder and Light Water in combination during the 1960s. In 1959, while researching chemical flame extinction, NRL scientists discovered a dry chemical agent still used globally for fire protection operations.

Aqueous Film Foam - Starting in the early 1960s, NRL fire suppression research led to one of the most far-reaching benefits to worldwide aviation safety - the development of aqueous film-forming foam for use in potentially catastrophic fuel fires.

Oil Spill Control - A 1970 NRL-developed method for oil spill containment is in use today for Naval fleet and facility pollution control and recovery programs for harbors and bays.

Seamarker - The early film-based NRL seamarkers helped save the lives of more than 150 people during World War II.

Mosquito Control - While testing surface films for use in controlling oil spills, NRL researchers saw that these substances might also be effective in controlling mosquitos, which lead to the development of a non-toxic form of mosquito control.

Atmosphere Monitoring - NRL developed the Central Atmosphere Monitor System, which allowed submarine crews, for the first time, to reliably monitor the air aboard their boats.

Hydrazine Indicator - NRL developed a detector for fuel vapor concentrations in the explosive range. This protects against explosions that might occur because of residual fuel left in the space shuttle's tank when it lands.

Fracture Mechanics - NRL developed the scientific principles for understanding the effects of applied stresses and cracks or other defects in metallic materials, beginning a new era in the development of fracture mechanics.

Hi Temp Superconductors - NRL has had a continuous history in superconductivity research since 1948, and in March 1987, NRL isolated, identified, and established processing procedures for the first superconducting material with a transition temperature over 90K. The Navy has many potential uses for superconductors, including motors for ship propulsion, magnetometers for underwater ocean surveillance, detectors of electromagnetic radiation, and space systems.

Microassay on a Card - NRL developed the Microassay on a Card (MAC), which is a portable, handheld immunoassay about the size of a credit card that can detect a wide variety of substances in the environment.

Vapor Sensor - NRLs surface acoustic wave sensor system was developed to detect and identify gasses, and is currently used to monitor hazardous chemical vapors, chemical warfare agents, potential fires, and environmental pollutants.

Portable X-ray - NRL developed a lightweight, portable X-ray unit for medical imaging, triage in the field, nondestructive testing, threat detection, and surveillance in remote locations.

Explosive Detectors - NRLs explosive and contraband detector uses nuclear quadrupole resonance to detect nitrogenous explosives or narcotics carried in luggage, mail, small cargo or on a person.

Fiber-Optic Sensors - NRLs fiber-optic biosensor uses antibodies, lectins, and antibiotics on the surface of an optical fiber to detect environmental pollutants and hazardous chemical or biological materials.

Cyclotron Accelerator - NRLs Cyclotron Particle Accelerator produces high-energy beams to study radiation damage to reactor materials, neutron radiation therapy for cancer, production of radioisotopes, and general radiation research.

Pilojector - In 1962, NRL developed a surgical technique for correcting intracranial aneurysms using an air gun, called a pilojector. This method replaced older methods and offered precise control of position, injection velocity, and penetration.


Link to the most current NRL Review

Link to Nanoscience Institute page

Sign Up for NRL News