An apparatus was developed with the capability to measure the anelastic and viscoelastic properties of icy materials over the long tidal periods and stress levels characteristic of Earth and icy satellites.
The system combines a modified commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) materials measurement frame with a modified COTS cryogenic chamber and custom temperature regulation system. The cooling system uses cold gaseous nitrogen and four stages of temperature control heaters between the sample and ambient temperature to achieve a thermal stability better than ±10 mK. A servo actuator allows cyclical force over the range 50 N to 2000 N to be applied and the resulting strain measured.
NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. For more information, please contact Mark Homer at