The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) fixation tube is a device for chemical fixation of a biological sample. It is mechanically resilient, small, and easy to use, and is thus well suited to use in the field as well as in the laboratory. Because typical chemical fixatives are extremely hazardous to humans, the device is also designed to contain its fixative solution within a triply-redundantly sealed environment. The device includes a main tube, sample tube, expansion plug, base plug, and top-plug/plunger assembly. Prior to use, the fixative solution is contained at the bottom of the main tube, below the expansion plug. The sample is placed in the sample tube, which is then inserted in the main tube and sealed in the main tube by inserting the top plug. Next, the plunger is used to (1) actuate a mechanism that loosens the seals on the expansion plug, then (2) push the sample tube down against the sample plug, thereby pushing the sample into the fixative solution.

This work was done by Howard William Wells of the Bionetics Corp. and Mark Best of Vector CAD Services for Kennedy Space Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to

the Technology Programs and Commercialization Office
Kennedy Space Center
(407) 867-6373

Refer to KSC-11993

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 1999 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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