Manufacturing & Prototyping

Buckyball Nucleation of HiPco Tubes

The purpose of this innovation is to enhance nucleation of single-wall nanotubes (SWNTs) in the HiPco process, selectively producing 10,10 tubes, something which until now has not been thought possible.

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Fabrication of Single Crystal MgO Capsules

A method has been developed for machining MgO crystal blocks into forms for containing metallic and silicate liquids at temperatures up to 2,400 ºC, and pressures up to at least 320 kilobars. Possible custom shapes include tubes, rods, insulators, capsules, and guides. Key differences in this innovative method include drilling along the crystallographic zone axes, use of a vibration minimizing material to secure the workpiece, and constant flushing of material swarf with a cooling medium/lubricant (water).

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Mars Aqueous Processing System

This technology can be used in treating soil contaminated with heavy metals and remediation of acid mine drainage. The goal of the Mars Aqueous Processing System (MAPS) is to establish a flexible process that generates multiple products that are useful for human habitation. Selectively extracting useful components into an aqueous solution, and then sequentially recovering individual constituents, can obtain a suite of refined or semi-refined products. Similarities in the bulk composition (although not necessarily of the mineralogy) of Martian and Lunar soils potentially make MAPS widely applicable. Similar process steps can be conducted on both Mars and Lunar soils while tailoring the reaction extents and recoveries to the specifics of each location.

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Inflatable Hangar for Assembly of Large Structures in Space

Such hangars may greatly increase the dexterity and performance of astronauts by operating in a shirtsleeves environment during the assembly process. The NASA Human Space Flight program is interested in projects where humans, beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO), can make an important and unique contribution that cannot be reasonably accomplished purely by robotic means, and is commensurate with the effort and cost associated with human spaceflight.

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3D Printing with FDM: Real Parts, Real Possibilities

sponsored by The terms “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing” refer to processes that automatically build objects layer-by-layer from computer data. The technology is already used in many sectors including transportation, healthcare, military, and education. Uses of 3D printing include building concept models, functional prototypes, factory tooling (such as molds and robot-arm ends), and even finished goods (such as aircraft internal components). The aerospace and medical industries in particular have developed advanced applications for 3D printing. 3D printing is sometimes referred to as “rapid prototyping,” but this term does not encompass all current uses for the technology. Materials used in 3D printing include resins, plastics, and, in some cases, metal.

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Lightweight Metal Matrix Composite Segmented for Manufacturing High-Precision Mirrors

New approach is examined to reduce production costs. High-precision mirrors for space applications are traditionally manufactured from one piece of material, such as lightweight glass “sandwich” or beryllium. The purpose of this project was to develop and test the feasibility of a manufacturing process capable of producing mirrors out of welded segments of AlBeMet® (AM162H). AlBeMet® is a HIP’d (hot isostatic pressed) material containing approximately 62% beryllium and 38% aluminum. As a result, AlBeMet® shares many of the benefits of both of those materials for use in high performance mirrors, while minimizing many of their weaknesses.

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Plasma Treatment To Remove Carbon From Indium UV Filters

Hydrogen plasma cleaning is used in sterilization applications in healthcare as an alternative to autoclaving. The sounding rocket experiment FIRE (Far-ultraviolet Imaging Rocket Experi ment) will improve the science community’s ability to image a spectral region hitherto unexplored astronomically. The imaging band of FIRE (≈900 to 1,100 Å) will help fill the current wavelength imaging observation hole existing from ≈620 Å to the GALEX band near 1,350 Å. FIRE is a single-optic prime focus telescope with a 1.75-m focal length. The bandpass of 900 to 1100 Å is set by a combination of the mirror coating, the indium filter in front of the detector, and the salt coating on the front of the detector’s microchannel plates. Critical to this is the indium filter that must reduce the flux from Lyman-alpha at 1,216 Å by a minimum factor of 10–4. The cost of this Lyman-alpha removal is that the filter is not fully transparent at the desired wavelengths of 900 to 1,100 Å.

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