Manufacturing & Prototyping

Thermal Mechanical Preparation of Glass Spheres

The forming process allows a very wide variety of material to be processed into spheres. Samples of lunar regolith have included small glass spheres. Most literature has suggested the small spheres were formed by meteorite impacts. The resulting transformation of kinetic energy to thermal energy caused the lunar surface to melt. The process yielded glass spheres. Recreating a meteorite impact that yields glass spheres is very challenging. Furthermore, the melting temperature of certain minerals on the Moon precludes the use of standard thermal techniques.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Glass, Thermal testing


Development of a Precision Thermal Doubler for Deep Space

A copper thermal doubler is used to spread the thermal loads. Thermal requirements and a need for a very flat mechanical interface led to the development of a copper doubler for the titanium vault on the Juno Spacecraft. The vault is designed to contain the science instruments on the spacecraft, protecting them from damage due to the extreme radiation environment of Jupiter. The titanium used in the vault creates unwanted thermal effects due to the poor thermal conductivity of titanium. To remove heat from the telecommunication equipment mounted to the interior of the vault, a copper thermal doubler was used to spread the thermal loads over the entire area of the radiator (located on the outside of the vault), which decreased the effective thermal resistance through the vault wall. A method of bonding a copper doubler to the titanium preserves the mounting interface flatness to less than 0.005 in. (0.13 mm) while providing a superior thermal path to the radiators, which are fitted with thermal control louvers. The precisely controlled titanium surface, and that of the milled copper doubler with integral spacing features, provides the mechanical interface flatness, structural integrity, and thermal performance required by the telecommunications subsystem.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Thermal management, Milling, Copper, Insulation, Titanium, Spacecraft


Improving Friction Stir Welds Using Laser Peening

This technique can be used in any application of friction stir welding, including automotive, railroad, and maritime industries. Friction stir welding (FSW) has emerged as a promising solid-state process with encouraging results, particularly when used on high-strength aerospace aluminum alloys that are generally difficult to weld. Laser peening has been applied to the mechanical and fatigue properties of welded joints. Laser peening introduces a compressive residual stress at the surface that can extend several millimeters or deeper into the material. These residual stresses resulting from laser peening can be significantly higher and deeper than for conventional shot peening, resulting in superior mechanical and fatigue properties in FSW.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Finite element analysis, Peening, Welding


Methodology of Evaluating Margins of Safety in Critical Brazed Joints

This methodology provides a guide consisting of design, testing, and structural analysis steps developed to assure positive strength margins of safety (MS) in critical brazed joints used for assembly of flight and non-flight structures.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Finite element analysis, Joining, Parts


Additive Manufacturing of Ti-6Al-4V Alloy Components for Spacecraft Applications

Additive manufacturing is a viable and affordable process to manufacture complex parts for aerospace, medical, and automotive applications. In the past two decades, there have been significant advancements in the field of additive manufacturing (AM) of titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) and other metallic components for aerospace applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid prototyping, Powder metallurgy, Titanium alloys, Parts, Spacecraft


Hermetic Seal Designs for Sample Return Sample Tubes

Prototype sample tube seals prevent material loss and maintain sample integrity. Prototypes have been developed of potential hermetic sample sealing techniques for encapsulating samples in a ≈1-cm-diameter thin-walled sample tube that are compatible with IMSAH (Integrated Mars Sample Acquisition and Handling) architecture. Techniques include a heat-activated, finned, shape memory alloy plug; a contracting shape memory alloy activated cap; an expanding shape memory alloy plug; and an expanding torque plug.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping


Thermo-Mechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy Response

This innovation is directly applicable to actuator applications employing shape memory alloys. This innovation is capable of significantly reducing the amount of time required to stabilize the strain-temperature response of a shape memory alloy (SMA). Unlike traditional stabilization processes that take days to weeks to achieve stabilized response, this innovation accomplishes stabilization in a matter of minutes, thus making it highly useful for the successful and practical implementation of SMA-based technologies in real-world applications. The innovation can also be applied to complex geometry components, not just simple geometries like wires or rods.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping


The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.