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Method for Selective Cleaning of Mold Release From Composite Honeycomb Surfaces

A simple, EPA-friendly approach solves a long-standing problem in heat-formed composite manufacturing.Honeycomb structures are commonly employed as load- and force-bearing structures as they are structurally strong and lightweight. These structures include many aircraft and spacecraft surfaces, including aircraft wings and fuselages, spacecraft pressure vessels, and heat-shield materials. Many other processes in other areas of transportation and defense, as well as the pharmaceutical and construction industries, employ pressure vessels with similar heat-formed composite structures.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Thermal Control Method for High-Current Wire Bundles by Injecting a Thermally Conductive Filler

A procedure was developed to inject thermal filler material (a paste-like substance) inside the power wire bundle coming from solar arrays. This substance fills in voids between wires, which enhances the heat path and reduces wire temperature. This leads to a reduced amount of heat generated. This technique is especially helpful for current and future generation high-power spacecraft (1 kW or more), because the heat generated by the power wires is significant enough to cause unacceptable overheating to critical components that are in close contact with the bundle.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Carbon Nanotube-Based Structural Health Monitoring Sensors

Carbon nanotube (CNT)-based sensors for structural health monitoring (SHM) can be embedded in structures of all geometries to monitor conditions both inside and at the surface of the structure to continuously sense changes. These CNTs can be manipulated into specific orientations to create small, powerful, and flexible sensors. One of the sensors is a highly flexible sensor for crack growth detection and strain field mapping that features a very dense and highly ordered array of single-walled CNTs.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Nanopatterning of Inorganic and Polymeric Substrates by Indentation Lithography

This fabrication method can be used in applications such as lab-on-a-chip, where conventional techniques cannot be used.A recent collaboration between the Whitesides Group at Harvard University and CSM Instruments has culminated in an important advance in lithography of different materials at the nano scale. The motivation for thisdevelopment was the ability to produce unique lithographical patterns of different shapes and sizes for use in research applications, such as lab-on-a-chip, where conventional techniques such as electron-beam lithography (EBL) and photolithography cannot be used.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Mount Protects Thin-Walled Glass or Ceramic Tubes From Large Thermal and Vibration Loads

Low-stress, low-profile mounts were developed for photomultiplier tubes for imaging systems, biological sensing, and atmospheric sensing.The design allows for the low-stress mounting of fragile objects, like thin walled glass, by using particular ways of compensating, isolating, or releasing the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) differences between the mounted object and the mount itself. This mount profile is lower than true full kinematic mounting. Also, this approach enables accurate positioning of the component for electrical and optical interfaces. It avoids the higher and unpredictable stress issues that often result from “potting” the object. The mount has been built and tested to space-flight specifications, and has been used for fiber-optic, optical, and electrical interfaces for a spaceflight mission.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Range 7 Scanner Integration With PaR Robot Scanning System

Models of complex objects can be developed even if the objects are large and featureless.An interface bracket and coordinate transformation matrices were designed to allow the Range 7 scanner to be mounted on the PaR Robot detector arm for scanning the heat shield or other object placed in the test cell. A process was designed for using Rapid Form XOR to stitch data from multiple scans together to provide an accurate 3D model of the object scanned.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP

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High-Operating-Temperature Barrier Infrared Detector With Tailorable Cutoff Wavelength

Novel materials allow the detector to operate at higher temperatures.A mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) barrier photodetector is capable of operating at higher temperature than the prevailing MWIR detectors based on InSb. The standard high-operating-temperature barrier infrared detector(HOT-BIRD) is made with an InAsSb infrared absorber that is lattice-matched to a GaSb substrate, and has a cutoff wavelength of approximately 4 microns. To increase the versatility and utility of the HOT-BIRD, it is implemented with IR absorber materials with customizable cutoff wavelengths.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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