3D-Printed Metal Fabrics Developed for Space (Download PDF)

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3D-printed metal fabric has been developed by the scientists in NASA. It has been made to use for astronaut spacesuits or as shields and insulation for spacecraft. The fabrics are the foldable one and can change shape quickly which can be useful for large antennas and other deployable devices. Other than this another use might be that for the icy moon where these fabrics could insulate the spacecraft. This material is so flexible that it can fold over uneven terrain.

3D-printed metal fabrics

3D-printed Metal Fabrics

3D-printed metal fabrics

What is the development?

  • It looks like a chain mail, with small silver square strung together
  • These fabrics are not by hand, they are made using the technique called additive manufacture
  • In additive manufacturing deposits material in layers to build up the desired object unlike the traditional technique
  • Due to this the cost is reduced and the ability to create unique is increased
  • It is called 4d printing because it can be printed in both the geometry
  • When the multiple functions will be added at different stages of development this would make the whole process cheaper
  • It would open doors to new designs
  • The space fabrics have four essential functions: reflectivity, passive heat management, foldability and tensile strength.
  • One side of the fabric reflects light, while the other absorbs it, acting as a means of thermal control.
  • The material can fold in, any different ways and adapt to shapes while still being able to sustain the force of pulling on it
  • The futuristic approach says that the astronauts will be able to print the materials as and when they need and even recycle the old materials, break them down and reuse them

- Published/Last Modified on: May 1, 2017

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