Preliminary Design of a Cryogenic Hydrogen Radiation Shield for Human Spaceflight

Liquid hydrogen is the most mass-efficient radiation shielding material.

Human susceptibility to the harsh space radiation environment has been identified as a major hurdle for exploration beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO). High-energy protons and nuclei ions from Solar Energetic Particles (SEPs) and Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs) can result in radiation doses that are dangerous to astronaut health and even survivability if the astronauts are not adequately shielded. These high-energy particles also cause significant amounts of secondary radiation when they impinge on the spacecraft structure. Hydrogen or hydrogen-rich materials are ideal materials for radiation shielding because hydrogen does not easily break down to form a secondary radiation source.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Hydrogen storage, Human factors, Radiation protection, Spacecraft
Read More >>

Methods of Making and Using Tubular Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs)

SOFCs have applications in vehicle auxiliary power units, and emergency backup power for telecom and cable repeaters.

Human-occupied vehicles and autonomous vehicles such as rovers and landers may benefit from the fuel flexibility and high energy density of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), compared to batteries and polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) systems. Fuel systems greater than 1 kW are traditionally planar and exhibit high volumetric power density; however, due to large sealing areas, they have poor cycling characteristics. Recently, 250 cycles on a Tubular SOFC (T-SOFC) system (Protonex Technology Corp.) was demonstrated. Hot zones designed around T-SOFCs have a lower packing density, but significantly better cycle life and start times, making them an ideal solution. By increasing the power density of T-SOFCs, overall hot zone and system volumetric power densities can be greatly improved. Extending the methodology of freeze-casting to T-SOFCs will provide a system with the micro-structural advantages of their planar counterpart, but with the rapid thermal cycling capacity of traditional extruded SOFCs.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fuel cells, On-board energy sources, Product development
Read More >>

Tool Designs for Friction Stir Welding

This repeatable, environmentally friendly, cost-effective weld method is able to weld traditionally “unweldable” alloys.

Friction stir welding (FSW) is a solidstate welding process that shows promise in the aerospace industry. A new system of experimentation has been used to quickly make and screen new tool designs. After conducting a literature review, friction stir tools were designed to optimize material flow around the tool.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Design processes, Technical review, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Welding
Read More >>

Novel Electrochemical Cell Designs for Simultaneous Production of Methane and Oxygen via the Electrolysis of Carbon Dioxide and Water

The two-chamber cell design allows electrolysis of water and carbon dioxide in separate chambers to minimize production of unwanted products.

NASA has investigated and demonstrated the simultaneous production of methane (CH4) and oxygen (O2) via the electrolysis of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) in one or more ionic liquids (ILs). In order to improve the likelihood of methane and oxygen production, and to reduce the likelihood of unwanted side-product formation, several innovative approaches were investigated. Research has shown thousands of options for ionic liquids that can be used in the electrochemical process; however, care must be taken to choose an ionic liquid that has high carbon dioxide solubility, limited change in viscosity due to carbon dioxide absorption, and chemical stability during the electrochemical process.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Carbon dioxide, Water, Methane, Research and development, Production, Oxygen
Read More >>

Riding the Energy Sector Rollercoaster

Managing any business directly or indirectly affiliated with the oil and gas sector today is a challenge. You can compare the last five years in the energy industry to riding a speeding rollercoaster. One second the industry is climbing, and the next, it is plummeting. So perhaps you should ask yourself, “Is my company ready for the ride?”. This paper will help you answer that question and more.

Posted in: White Papers, Energy, Manufacturing & Prototyping
Read More >>

Selecting the Right Material for 3D Printing

Materials must be suited to the application in order to have successful results. The properties of any material become increasingly important as a product progresses from concept and functional prototyping to production.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Test & Measurement
Read More >>

Designing for Mechanical and Signal Integrity in Handheld Medical Treatment Applications

Handheld medical devices must perform across a wide range of device specifications and end-user environmental conditions. Mechanical and signal integrity of cable components is especially important for high-level performance, accuracy, durability, longevity, and user satisfaction. A great variety of insulating and jacketing material options exist for wire and cable in medical electronics. Performance factors that affect material selection decisions include biocompatibility, disinfection and sterilization compatibility, revision control assurance, environmental regulatory compliance, aesthetics, flexibility, durability, and cost. Subtle differences in priority may result in significant differences in product design, as well as overall cost.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Mechanical Components, Bio-Medical, Medical
Read More >>

Additive Manufacturing Trends In Aerospace

Additive manufacturing gives the aerospace industry better solutions for making UAVs, commercial aircraft and space vehicles stronger, lighter and more economical, with increased production efficiency. In this white paper, you’ll learn how various aerospace companies use additive manufacturing to:

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping
Read More >>

Searching, Exploring and Visualizing Data Using Maple

With the ever-expanding sea of available data and data repositories, navigating the vast quantities of information can be a difficult task. Maple, the advanced computing software from Maplesoft, is a powerful and interactive data visualization tool that can help users understand data characteristics through various techniques for visualization and analysis. Maple makes it easy to search, filter, explore and visualize varying types and quantities of data. This paper presents several examples of how Maple can be used to search and filter large data repositories, explore and visualize the data in innovative ways and use the data to predict future behavior.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Automation, Robotics, Electronics & Computers, Software
Read More >>

Mobile Robot Colleagues on Wheels Increase Productivity And Worker Safety at Scott Fetzer Electrical Group

High-mix/low-volume manufacturing offers an automation challenge. But at electronics manufacturer Scott Fetzer Electrical Group (SFEG) in Tennessee, a fleet of Universal Robots on wheels receives daily work orders to solve ever-changing tasks—and has optimized productivity by 20%.

These lightweight, collaborative robots (“cobots”) are easy to move, set up, and program for new tasks. And the built-in safety system automatically stops the robot arm’s operation if it encounters objects or people in its route.

Download the whitepaper and find out how the Universal Robots handle tasks throughout the sheet metal department, fill epoxy into circuit boards, pick and place on conveyor lines, cut wires and perform life cycle testing:

Universal Robots Gives SFEG these Advantages:

Increased productivity by 20% Improved manufacturing consistency Increased global competitiveness with faster time to production Fast implementation with user-friendly programming and set-up Improved worker safety - “Let the robot get carpal tunnel” Payback period between 12 and 14 months
Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Automation, Robotics
Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.