Manufacturing & Prototyping

Improved Design and Fabrication of Hydrated-Salt Pills

Salt pills for adiabatic-demagnetization refrigerators could be mass-produced. A high-performance design, and fabrication and growth processes to implement the design, have been devised for encapsulating a hydrated salt in a container that both protects the salt and provides thermal conductance between the salt and the environment surrounding the container. The unitary salt/container structure is known in the art as a salt pill. In the original application of the present design and processes, the salt is, more specifically, a hydrated paramagnetic salt, for use as a refrigerant in a very-low-temperature adiabatic-demagnetization refrigerator (ADR). The design and process can also be applied, with modifications, to other hydrated salts.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Monolithic Flexure Pre-Stressed Ultrasonic Horns

Flexures are used rather than stress bolts, allowing one to apply pre-load to the piezoelectric material. High-power ultrasonic actuators are generally assembled with a horn, backing, stress bolt, piezoelectric rings, and electrodes. The manufacturing process is complex, expensive, difficult, and time-consuming. The internal stress bolt needs to be insulated and presents a potential internal discharge point, which can decrease actuator life. Also, the introduction of a center hole for the bolt causes many failures, reducing the throughput of the manufactured actuators.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Microfabrication of a High-Throughput Nanochannel Delivery/Filtration System

A microfabrication process is proposed to produce a nanopore membrane for continuous passive drug release to maintain constant drug concentrations in the patient’s blood throughout the delivery period. Based on silicon microfabrication technology, the dimensions of the nanochannel area, as well as microchannel area, can be precisely controlled, thus providing a steady, constant drug release rate within an extended time period. The multilayered nanochannel structures extend the limit of release rate range of a single-layer nanochannel system, and allow a wide range of pre-defined porosity to achieve any arbitrary drug release rate using any preferred nanochannel size. This membrane system could also be applied to molecular filtration or isolation. In this case, the nanochannel length can be reduced to the nanofabrication limit, i.e., 10s of nm.

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Versatile, Ceramic, Metering Pumps for Medical Applications

Valveless design and sapphire-hard internals provide drift-free accuracy without recalibration for millions of maintenance-free dispenses.From R&D in the laboratory to production process control, from disposable component assembly to OEM diagnostic instrumentation, a broad array of medical and medical support applications rely on precise dispensing or metering of fluids. But just as diverse as the applications are the varieties of fluids, their chemical and physical characteristics, and the specific application parameters. It could then be concluded that fluid control components, including pumps, need to have the flexibility to handle many different fluids and applications.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Medical, Drug Delivery & Fluid Handling, Briefs, MDB

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Technique for Configuring an Actively Cooled Thermal Shield in a Flight System

New shields could potentially provide considerable mass savings.Broad area cooling shields are a massefficient alternative to conductively cooled thermal radiation shielding. The shield would actively intercept a large portion of incident thermal radiation and transport the heat away using cryogenic helium gas. The design concept consists of a conductive and conformable surface that maximizes heat transfer and formability.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Pallet Manufacturing Process and Machinery Using Recycled Plastic Materials

A process and device enable plastic lumber to be joined together to form pallets.As the recycling of plastic continues in the United States, there is a great need for the increased utilization of recycled products. Some of the plastic being recycled is extruded into a product known as plastic lumber, which is similar in shape and texture to its wood counterpart. Recycled plastic lumber offers many of the same features as wood with several benefits.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Measuring the In-Process Figure, Final Prescription, and System Alignment of Large Optics and Segmented Mirrors Using Lidar Metrology

This technique has application in commercial optics and lithography. The fabrication of large optics is traditionally a slow process, and fabrication capability is often limited by measurement capability. While techniques exist to measure mirror figure with nanometer precision, measurements of largemirror prescription are typically limited to submillimeter accuracy. Using a lidar instrument enables one to measure the optical surface rough figure and prescription in virtually all phases of fabrication without moving the mirror from its polishing setup. This technology improves the uncertainty of mirror prescription measurement to the micronregime. Furthermore, during instrument assembly, a lidar instrument measures the fabricated optical surface directly and compares with scans of diffuse, mechanical surfaces or other coordinate system references on metering structures. This speeds the alignment process and removes the necessity of ancillary alignment fiducials because the optical surface can be sampled directly.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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