Development of Tantalum Carbide for Microgravity Containment Cartridges

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NAS8-03015
Agency Tracking Number: 024156
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Plasma Processes, Inc.
4914 Moores Mill Rd, Huntsville, AL, 35811
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Scott O'Dell
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 851-7653
Business Contact
 Timothy McKecnie
Title: President
Phone: (256) 851-7653
Research Institution
Two critical aspects for microgravity materials experiments are to ensure the safety of the International Space Station (ISS) crew/hardware and to maximize the level of obtainable science. Several of the materials processing experiments for the Quench Module Insert (QMI), one of the first Experiment Modules (EM) to be used aboard the ISS, require processing aluminum or aluminum alloys. Recent tests by NASA have shown refractory metal cartridges have limited resistance to attack from molten aluminum. In addition, these cartridge materials have relatively low emissivities which result in reduced rates of heat transfer from the heater core to samples being processed; thus, the level of obtainable science is not maximized. Recently, tantalum carbide has been identified as having a high resistance to attack by molten aluminum as well as having a significantly higher emissivity than typical refractory metal cartridge materials. Therefore, an investigation is proposed to develop methods for producing tantalum carbide on the internal and external surfaces of containment cartridges for use in microgravity furnaces. Successful completion of this work will enhance furnace efficiency by lowering power requirements and increasing quench rates, increase sample containment reliability/safety, and reduce the cost to produce sample containment cartridges.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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