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Epoxy Adhesives for Stator Magnet Assembly in Stirling Radioisotope Generators (SRG)As NASA seeks to fulfill its goals of exploration and understanding through missions planned to visit the moons of Saturn and beyond, a number of challenges arise from the idea of deep space flight. One of the first problems associated with deep space travel is electrical power production for systems on the spacecraft. Conventional methods such as solar power are not practical because efficiency decreases substantially as the craft moves away from the Sun. The criterion for power generation during deep space missions are very specific, the main points requiring high reliability, low mass, minimal vibration and a long lifespan. A Stirling generator, although fairly old in concept, is considered to be a potential solution for electrical power generation for deep space flight. A Stirling generator works on the same electromagnetic principles of a standard generator, using the linear motion of the alternator through the stationary stator which produces electric induction. The motion of the alternator, however, is produced by the heating and cooling dynamics of pressurized gases. Essentially heating one end and cooling another of a contained gas will cause a periodic expansion and compression of the gas from one side to the other, which a displacer translates into linear mechanical motion. NASA needs to confirm that the materials used in the generator will be able to withstand the rigors of space and the life expectancy of the mission. I am working on the verification of the epoxy adhesives used to bond magnets to the steel lamination stack to complete the stator; in terms of in-service performance and durability under various space environments. Understanding the proper curing conditions, high temperature properties, and degassing problems as well as production difficulties are crucial to the long term success of the generator. system and steel substrate used in the stator. To optimize the curing conditions of the epoxies, modulated differential scanning calorimetry analysis was done as a function of cure time and temperatures. Adhesion bond strength was tested at various temperatures with lap shear samples using Hiperco 50 substrate to ensure that the proper adhesive is being used. To try and solve the problem of bondline thickness, micro glass beads of 0.0017" in diameter were investigated to see if any other physical properties of the epoxy were affected. Efforts will be made to develop a standard, optimized, fabrication process/procedure of sub-scale magnet-stator assemblies for various adhesive performance evaluation studies under simulated generator conditions. Also, accelerated aging testing will be done in a pressurized canister with stator assembly samples for three years to verify if any degassing or thermal degradation of the epoxy occurs. The necessity of verifying the correct epoxy adhesive system for the stator magnet in the SRG is crucial because failure of the stator assembly would jeopardize the electrical system, and thereby the entire mission itself. My work involves specimen fabrications, testing, and data analyses of the epoxy adhesive system for the stator magnet in the SRG is crucial because failure of the stator assembly would jeopardize the electrical system, and thereby the entire mission itself.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cater, George M. (Michigan Univ. MI, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium II
Subject Category
Electronics and Electrical Engineering
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20050186580Analytic PrimaryResearch Symposium II