Manufacturing & Prototyping

Economical Fabrication of Thick-Section Ceramic Matrix Composites

Applications for these composites include combustors, high-temperature filter elements, and process industry parts requiring corrosion resistance.A method was developed for producing thick-section [>2 in. (≈5 cm)], continuous fiber-reinforced ceramic matrix composites (CMCs). Ultramet-modified fiber interface coating and melt infiltration processing, developed previously for thin-section components, were used for the fabrication of CMCs that were an order of magnitude greater in thickness [up to 2.5 in. (≈6.4 cm)]. Melt processing first involves infiltration of a fiber preform with the desired interface coating, and then with carbon to partially densify the preform. A molten refractory metal is then infiltrated and reacts with the excess carbon to form the carbide matrix without damaging the fiber reinforcement. Infiltration occurs from the inside out as the molten metal fills virtually all the available void space. Densification to

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Process for Making a Noble Metal on Tin Oxide Catalyst

This method produces an efficient, room-temperature catalyst for recombining carbon monoxide and oxygen products.To produce a noble metal-on-metal oxide catalyst on an inert, high-surface-area support material (that functions as a catalyst at approximately room temperature using chloride-free reagents), for use in a carbon dioxide laser, requires two steps: First, a commercially available, inert, high-surface area support material (silica spheres) is coated with a thin layer of metal oxide, a monolayer equivalent. Very beneficial results have been obtained using nitric acid as an oxidizing agent because it leaves no residue. It is also helpful if the spheres are first de-aerated by boiling in water to allow the entire surface to be coated. A metal, such as tin, is then dissolved in the oxidizing agent/support material mixture to yield, in the case of tin, metastannic acid. Although tin has proven especially beneficial for use in a closed-cycle CO2 laser, in general any metal with two valence states, such as most transition metals and antimony, may be used. The metastannic acid will be adsorbed onto the high-surface-area spheres, coating them. Any excess oxidizing agent is then evaporated, and the resulting metastannic acid-coated spheres are dried and calcined, whereby the metastannic acid becomes tin(IV) oxide.

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Optimal Flow Control Design

This design results in a quieter and more environmentally friendly transport aircraft.In support of the Blended-Wing-Body aircraft concept, a new flow control hybrid vane/jet design has been developed for use in a boundary-layer-ingesting (BLI) offset inlet in transonic flows. This inlet flow control is designed to minimize the engine fan-face distortion levels and the first five Fourier harmonic half amplitudes while maximizing the inlet pressure recovery. This concept represents a potentially enabling technology for quieter and more environmentally friendly transport aircraft.

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Microfabricated Segmented-Involute-Foil Regenerator for Stirling Engines

Tests show significantly improved performance.An involute-foil regenerator was designed, microfabricated, and tested in an oscillating-flow test rig. The concept consists of stacked involute-foil nickel disks (see figure) microfabricated via a lithographic process. Test results yielded a performance of about twice that of the 90-percent random-fiber currently used in small Stirling converters.

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Reducing Seal Adhesion in Low Impact Docking Systems

Atomic oxygen is used to treat mating silica surfaces to reduce unwanted adhesion during docking/undocking operations.Silicone elastomers, used in seals for airlocks or other sealing surfaces in space, are sticky in their as-received condition. Because of the sticking, a greater force may be needed to separate the mating surfaces. If the adhesion is sufficiently high, a sudden unpredicted movement of the spacecraft during undocking, vibration, or uneven release could pull off the seal, resulting in a damage that would have to be repaired before another docking. The damaged seal can result in significant gas leakage and possibly in a catastrophic mishap impacting the safety of the crew. It is also possible that a compromised seal could result in a delayed but sudden gas leak that could put the crew at unexpected risk. This is especially of concern for androgynous seals, which have identical mating surfaces on both sides for interchangeability and redundancy. Such seals typically have elastomer-on-elastomer sealing surfaces. To reduce sticking, one could use release agents such as powders and lubricants, but these can be easily removed and transferred to other surfaces, causing uneven sealing and contamination. Modification of the elastomer surface to make a more slippery and less sticky surface that is integral with the bulk elastomer would be more desirable.

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Corrosion-Resistant Container for Molten-Material Processing

A combination of materials functions and survives in hot, corrosive environments.In a carbothermal process, gaseous methane is passed over molten regolith, which is heated past its melting point to a temperature in excess of 1,625 °C. At this temperature, materials in contact with the molten regolith (or regolith simulant) corrode and lose their structural properties. As a result, fabricating a crucible to hold the molten material and providing a method of contact heating have been problematic.

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Process To Produce Iron Nanoparticle Lunar Dust Simulant Composite

A document discusses a method for producing nanophase iron lunar dust composite simulant by heating a mixture of carbon black and current lunar simulant types (mixed oxide including iron oxide) at a high temperature to reduce ionic iron into elemental iron. The product is a chemically modified lunar simulant that can be attracted by a magnet, and has a surface layer with an iron concentration that is increased during the reaction. The iron was found to be α-iron and Fe3O4 nanoparticles. The simulant produced with this method contains iron nanoparticles not available previously, and they are stable in ambient air. These nanoparticles can be mass-produced simply.

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