Tech Briefs

Method for Fabricating Metallic Panels with Deep Stiffener Sections

This method is a rapid, more environmentally friendly, cost-effective process. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia This innovation integrates existing highperformance metallic materials and manufacturing technologies (all of which are now certified and used to produce thinner stiffened panels for launch vehicle structures) in a novel manner to allow fabrication of more structurally efficient panels with stiffeners that are substantially deeper than existing plate stock materials.

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Robust, High-Temperature Containment Cartridges for Microgravity

Other potential applications include chemical processing, heat pipes, power generation equipment, nuclear components, and automotive. Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Robust, high-temperature containment cartridges are needed for processing materials science experiments in microgravity. In general, the refractory metals (Nb, Ta, Mo, W, Re) possess the chemical inertness and high melting temperatures desired. Of these materials, niobium and tantalum alloys have been the materials of choice due to their low ductile to brittle transition temperatures, which allow deep-draw forming into cylindrical shapes. The high cost of tantalum and niobium, along with the desire for cartridges resistant to molten zinc and usable to 1,500 °C, demonstrates the need for alternative cartridge materials. Two candidate materials are molybdenum and tungsten alloys. Both have high melting temperatures and cost an order of magnitude less than tantalum and niobium.

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Method for Insertion of Carbon Fiber Through the Thickness of Dense Dry Fiber Preform

Heat shields for re-entry vehicles, and jet engine exhaust components are two potential applications. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Creation of a structural joint for a heat shield for extreme entry environments requires structural fibers penetrating through the thickness of the shield at joint locations. The structural fibers must be made of carbon to withstand extremely high temperatures, i.e. 2000 ºC. Carbon fibers, due to their relatively high modulus (stiffness), are easily damaged and broken when handled by a conventional sewing machine. Special coatings such as nylon are required to increase the durability of the fiber to enable its use in a sewing or tufting process.

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Edge-Bonded Shims

Edge-bonded shims reduce assembly time and require less inventory storage space. SPIROL International Corp., Danielson, Connecticut Precision shims are used as compensators to absorb tolerances between mating components. They significantly reduce manufacturing costs by eliminating the need for each component to be precision-machined in order to achieve the proper fit and function of the total assembly. During the assembly process, shims provide adjustment to compensate for accumulated tolerances that significantly reduces the need for re-machining and assembly time. Additionally, shims are commonly used to preserve the faces between mating components, cutting down the required machining time during rebuilds/retrofitting.

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Processing and Damage Tolerance of Continuous Carbon Fiber Composites Containing Puncture-Self-Healing Thermoplastic Matrix

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia The initiation and propagation of damage ultimately results in failure of aircraft structural components. Often, impact damage is difficult to identify in-service, and hence design of continuous carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite structure involves up to a 50% knockdown in the undamaged failure strength allowable. If damage is identified in a composite structure, the vehicle must be grounded for structural repair. This involves the grinding away of damaged regions and drilled holes to secure patches. By providing a polymer matrix with the ability to self-heal after impact damage is incurred, vehicle safety is greatly improved by increasing the design allowable for strength, resulting in more efficient CFRP structure.

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Advanced Supported Liquid Membranes for CO‚2 Control in EVA Applications

This sorbent can be used in the capture of CO2 from coal-fired power plants and other power generation facilities. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas NASA has a clear need to develop new technology in support of its future goals, including missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the possible development of lunar outposts, and the eventual exploration of Mars. As these missions develop, it is anticipated that crewmembers will spend extended time outside the spacecraft and established habitats, requiring new, robust, lightweight life support systems for extravehicular activities (EVAs). One area that is critical to life support systems is the control of CO2, and new spacesuits must be able to accommodate longer EVAs without increasing the size or weight of the current portable life support system (PLSS).

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Low-Density Titanium-Based Bulk Metallic Glasses with High Glass-Forming Ability

These materials can be used in gears, bearings, latches, inserts, and sheet metal. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Ti-based bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) and matrix composites (BMGMCs) are a subset of the class of materials known synonymously as amorphous metals, liquid metals, and glassy metals, described by their majority element (in atomic percent) being that of titanium. BMGs are non-crystalline metal alloys based in a wide variety of elemental systems, including zirconium, iron, nickel, hafnium, gold, platinum, palladium, and silver, among others. The vast majority of commercially utilized BMGs are based in Zr-Ti-Cu-Ni-Be or Zr-Cu-Ni-Al due to their relatively low-cost elements and large glass-forming ability (GFA), typically greater than 1 cm. BMGs have long been considered to be a material without a clear application, as the density of BMGs fits squarely between two common, highperformance crystalline alloys that BMGs are usually thought to be replacements for: steel (density = 7.8 g/cm3) and titanium (density = 4.5 g/cm3). For example, Zr-based BMGs generally fit into the range of 6 to 6.5 g/cm3, which makes them difficult to use as direct replacements for conventional materials.

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