Manufacturing & Prototyping

Advanced CO2 Removal and Reduction System

An advanced system for removing CO2 and H2O from cabin air, reducing the CO2, and returning the resulting O2 to the air is less massive than is a prior system that includes two assemblies — one for removal and one for reduction. Also, in this system, unlike in the prior system, there is no need to compress and temporarily store CO2. In this present system, removal and reduction take place within a single assembly, wherein removal is effected by use of an alkali sorbent and reduction is effected using a supply of H2 and Ru catalyst, by means of the Sabatier reaction, which is CO2 + 4H2 → CH4 + O2. The assembly contains two fixed-bed reactors operating in alternation: At first, air is blown through the first bed, which absorbs CO2 and H2O. Once the first bed is saturated with CO2 and H2O, the flow of air is diverted through the second bed and the first bed is regenerated by supplying it with H2 for the Sabatier reaction. Initially, the H2 is heated to provide heat for the regeneration reaction, which is endothermic. In the later stages of regeneration, the Sabatier reaction, which is exothermic, supplies the heat for regeneration.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Correcting Thermal Deformations in an Active Composite Reflector

Composite actuators can be embedded into an easy-to-manufacture flat surface. Large, high-precision composite reflectors for future space missions are costly to manufacture, and heavy. An active composite reflector capable of adjusting shape in situ to maintain required tolerances can be lighter and cheaper to manufacture.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Cryo-Etched Black Silicon for Use as Optical Black

Stray light reflected from the surface of imaging spectrometer components — in particular, the spectrometer slit — degrade the image quality. A technique has been developed for rapid, uniform, and cost-effective black silicon formation based on inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etching at cryogenic temperatures. Recent measurements show less than 1-percent total reflectance from 350–2,500 nm of doped black silicon formed in this way, making it an excellent option for texturing of component surfaces for reduction of stray light.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Design Competition for Portable Solar Power

Today, Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (Thornton, CO) - a developer of lightweight, flexible, thin-film photovoltaic modules - has announced the selection of seven teams that will begin designing prototypes for the Ascent Solar Innovative Design Competition.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Solar Power, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Energy, News, GDM

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Controlled-Orientation Short-Fiber Composite Bodies

Microstructurally controlled composite properties mimic biomaterials. A technique for depositing materials into position using a positive-displacement extruder to build up a body has been developed. This technique also includes a process to prepare composite materials through a solid free-body forming process containing directionally aligned short-fiber reinforcement and ceramic-particulate reinforcement (of which at least a portion is derived from an alkoxide precursor).

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Process for Rapid Prototyping in Ceramic-Matrix Composites

Precursors of continuous-fiber-reinforced CMCs are deposited in patterned layers. The ceramic-composite advanced tow-placement (CCATP) process is a means of laying down continuous-fiber-reinforced, ceramic-matrix composite (CMC) materials in patterned layers to form objects that could have complex three-dimensional shapes. The CCATP process is a member of the growing family of solid-freeform processes in art of rapid prototyping.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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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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