Manufacturing & Prototyping

Demonstration of Minimally Machined Honeycomb Silicon Carbide Mirrors

This manufacturing process eliminates machining and steps for mirrors and optomechanical structures. Honeycomb silicon carbide composite mirrors are made from a carbon fiber preform that is molded into a honeycomb shape using a rigid mold. The carbon fiber honeycomb is densified by using polymer infiltration pyrolysis, or through a reaction with liquid silicon. A chemical vapor deposit, or chemical vapor composite (CVC), process is used to deposit a polishable silicon or silicon carbide cladding on the honeycomb structure. Alternatively, the cladding may be replaced by a freestanding, replicated CVC SiC facesheet that is bonded to the honeycomb. The resulting carbon fiber-reinforced silicon carbide honeycomb structure is a ceramic matrix composite material with high stiffness and mechanical strength, high thermal conductivity, and low CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion). This innovation enables rapid, inexpensive manufacturing.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Heat Shield Employing Cured Thermal Protection Material Blocks Bonded in a Large-Cell Honeycomb Matrix

A document describes a new way to integrate thermal protection materials on external surfaces of vehicles that experience the severe heating environments of atmospheric entry from space. Cured blocks of thermal protection materials are bonded into a compatible, large-cell honeycomb matrix that can be applied on the external surfaces of the vehicles. The honeycomb matrix cell size, and corresponding thermal protection material block size, is envisioned to be between 1 and 4 in. (≈2.5 and 10 cm) on a side, with a depth required to protect the vehicle. The cell wall thickness is thin, between 0.01 and 0.10 in. (≈0.025 and 0.25 cm).

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Cloud-Based Product Lifecycle Management for the Medical Industry

A collaborative software solution offers medical OEMs a range of benefits, including more efficient product development, improved profitability, and higher product quality. The medical industry stands to benefit immensely from cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM). The mountains of information that medical companies must manage when bringing a new product to market are truly massive. Every aspect of the product — and every change made to the product — must be carefully documented to ensure compliance with regulatory bodies such as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the ISO (International Standards Organization).

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, FDA Compliance/Regulatory Affairs

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High-Accuracy Closed Loop Force Feedback

Benefits of serial servo digital presses for force gauge specifications. Hand-driven press assemblies, which require a specific amount of force applied for a given amount of time, present challenges when attempting to accurately measure or replicate results in production or quality control processes. In contrast, servo-driven digital presses are able to provide accurate, consistent, and repeatable results while outputting trackable data. By controlling position and current, the servo-driven digital press allows for stable, accurate, and repeatable control.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs

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Single-Layer, All-Metal Patch Antenna Element With Wide Bandwidth

This design is suitable for military and commercial environments with high ESD susceptibility. It is known that the impedance at the center of a patch antenna element is a short circuit, implying that a wire or post can be connected from the patch to the groundplane at this point without impacting radiation performance. In principle, this central post can be used to support the patch element, thus eliminating the need for dielectric. In spaceborne applications, this approach is problematic because a patch element supported by a single, thin post is highly susceptible to acoustic loads during launch.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Scanning Laser Infrared Molecular Spectrometer (SLIMS)

This instrument can be used in any application requiring chemical sensing. This prototype innovation is a novel design that achieves very long, effective laser path lengths that are able to yield ppb (parts per billion) and sub-ppb measurements of trace gases. SLIMS can also accommodate multiple laser channels covering a wide range of wavelengths, resulting in detection of more chemicals of interest. The mechanical design of the mirror cell allows for the large effective path length within a small footprint. The same design provides a robust structure that lends itself to being immune to some of the alignment challenges that similar cells face.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Next-Generation Microshutter Arrays for Large-Format Imaging and Spectroscopy

A next-generation microshutter array, LArge Microshutter Array (LAMA), was developed as a multi-object field selector. LAMA consists of small-scaled microshutter arrays that can be combined to form large-scale microshutter array mosaics. Microshutter actuation is accomplished via electrostatic attraction between the shutter and a counter electrode, and 2D addressing can be accomplished by applying an electrostatic potential between a row of shutters and a column, orthogonal to the row, of counter electrodes. Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) technology is used to fabricate the microshutter arrays.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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