Manufacturing & Prototyping

Pneumatic System for Concentration of Micrometer-Size Lunar Soil

A report describes a size-sorting method to separate and concentrate micrometer-size dust from a broad size range of particles without using sieves, fluids, or other processes that may modify the composition or the surface properties of the dust.

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FACT, Mega-ROSA, SOLAROSA

These technologies have applications in fixed and mobile large-area photovoltaic renewable energy systems. The Flexible Array Concentrator Technology (FACT) is a lightweight, high-performance reflective concentrator blanket assembly that can be used on flexible solar array blankets. The FACT concentrator replaces every other row of solar cells on a solar array blanket, significantly reducing the cost of the array. The modular design is highly scalable for the array system designer, and exhibits compact stowage, good offpointing acceptance, and mass/cost savings. The assembly’s relatively low concentration ratio, accompanied by a large radiative area, provides for a low cell operating temperature, and eliminates many of the thermal problems inherent in high-concentration-ratio designs. Unlike other reflector technologies, the FACT concentrator modules function on both z-fold and rolled flexible solar array blankets, as well as rigid array systems.

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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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