Manufacturing & Prototyping

3D PRINTERS VS. 3D PRODUCTION SYSTEMS: 10 Distinguishing Factors to Help Select a System

This paper addresses the capabilities, roles and positioning of systems geared for professional use. Beginning with the most basic information – the definition of 3D printers – this whitepaper positions the two product classes.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, White Papers

Read More >>

Advanced Materials and Fabrication Techniques for the Orion Attitude Control Motor

Rhenium is ideally suited for high-temperature applications. Rhenium, with its high melting temperature, excellent elevated temperature properties, and lack of a ductile-to-brittle transition temperature (DBTT), is ideally suited for the hot gas components of the ACM (Attitude Control Motor), and other hightemperature applications. However, the high cost of rhenium makes fabricating these components using conventional fabrication techniques prohibitive. Therefore, near-net-shape forming techniques were investigated for producing cost-effective rhenium and rhenium alloy components for the ACM and other propulsion applications.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

Read More >>

Silicon/Carbon Nanotube Photocathode for Splitting Water

The combination of materials is expected to increase the efficiency of the redox reaction. A proof-of-concept device is being developed (see figure) for hydrogen gas production based on water-splitting redox reactions facilitated by cobalt tetra-aryl porphyrins (Co[TArP]) catalysts stacked on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that are grown on n-doped silicon substrates. The operational principle of the proposed device is based on conversion of photoelectron energy from sunlight into chemical energy, which at a later point, can be turned into electrical and mechanical power.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

Read More >>

Circularly Polarized Microwave Antenna Element With Very Low Off-Axis Cross-Polarization

The goal of this work was to improve offaxis cross-polarization performance and ease of assembly of a circularly polarized microwave antenna element. To ease assembly, the initial design requirement of Hexweb support for the internal circuit part, as well as the radiating disks, was eliminated.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Flash Cracking Reactor for Waste Plastic Processing

Conversion of waste plastic to energy is a growing problem that is especially acute in space exploration applications. Moreover, utilization of heavy hydrocarbon resources (wastes, waxes, etc.) as fuels and chemicals will be a growing need in the future. Existing technologies require a trade-off between product selectivity and feedstock conversion. The objective of this work was to maintain high plastic-to-fuel conversion without sacrificing the liquid yield. The developed technology accomplishes this goal with a combined understanding of thermodynamics, reaction rates, and mass transport to achieve high feed conversion without sacrificing product selectivity.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Ultra-Low Heat- Leak, High- Temperature Superconducting Current Leads for Space Applications

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has a need for current leads used in an adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) for space applications. These leads must comply with stringent requirements such as a heat leak of approximately 100 μW or less while conducting up to 10 A of electric current, from more than 90 K down to 10 K. Additionally, a length constraint of < 300 mm length and < 50 mm diameter is to be maintained.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Castable Amorphous Metal Mirrors and Mirror Assemblies

Commercial applications include optics for spacecraft and satellites, mirror components for telescopes, and mirrors for lasers, sensing, and solar energy collection. The use of mirror assemblies is commonplace in the aerospace industry, as most satellites and spacecraft contain optics. The fabrication of these mirrors is extremely complex due to the nature of their intended use, which includes telescope lenses, camera optics, or laser mirrors. Some of the common requirements of spacecraft mirrors are that they have the correct optical curvature to some defined tolerance, they have low surface roughness, they have high reflectivity, and they are rigid (either against thermal expansion or flexing).

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

Read More >>