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Uses of Computed Tomography for Characterizing Materials Grown Terrestrially and in MicrogravityTomography (CT) has proved to be of inestimable use in providing a rapid evaluation of a variety of samples from Mechanics of Granular Materials (MGM) to electronic materials (Ge-Si alloys) to space grown materials such as meteorites. The system at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), because of its convenient geographical location, is ideal for examining samples before launch and immediately after returning to Earth. It also has the advantage of the choice of fluxes, and in particular the use of a radioactive cobalt source, which is basically monochromatic. This permits a reasonable measurement of density to be made from which chemical composition can be determined. Due to the current dearth of long duration space grown materials, the CT instrument has been used: (1) to characterize materials in preparation for flight, (2) to determine thermal expansion values, and (3) to examine long duration space grown materials, i.e. meteorites. This work will first describe the establishment of the protocol for obtaining the optimum density readings for any material. Included will be the effects of the hardware or instrumental parameters that can be controlled, and the techniques used to process the CT data. Examples will be given of the compositional variation along a single crystal of Ge-Si alloy. Density variation with temperature has been measured in preparation for future materials science experiments; this involved the fabrication at MSFC and installation of a single zone furnace at KSC incorporating a heat pipe to ensure high temperature uniformity. At the time of writing the thermal expansion of lead (Pb) has been measured from room temperature to 900 C. Three methods are available. Digital radiography enables length changes to be determined. Prior to melting the sample is smaller than the container and the diameter change can be measured. Most critical, however, is the density change in solid, through the melting region, and in the liquid state. These data are needed for engineering purposes to aid in the design of containment cartridges, and for enabling fluid flow calculations. A second sample, with the Pb alloyed with Sb is ready for scanning. This corresponds to the planned composition of Dr. Poirier s flight experiment. Other materials pertinent to NASA programs such as Al-Cu (Trivedi), CdTe (Banish), HgCdTe (Lehoczky) will be examined below and above the melting point. Finally, three-dimensional results will be shown of the structure of a two-phase metallic meteorite of metal and sulfide, in which the Fe-Ni phase has coarsened during slow cooling over hundreds of millions of years.
Document ID
Document Type
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Biological and Physical Space Research Laboratory 2002 Science Review
Subject Category
Space Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20040073490Analytic PrimaryBiological and Physical Space Research Laboratory 2002 Science Review