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4-D printed thermite could make welding in space and combat zones easier, safer

4-D printed thermite could make welding in space and combat zones easier, safer

Written by David

July 24, 2020

A recent mechanical engineering doctoral graduate has created a material for welding in extreme conditions that could minimize equipment needed and operator hazards. The material—a safe, stable, thermite paste—can serve as a portable, programmable heat source for use in space, under water and in combat zones.

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The paste is 3-D-printed and deposited in patterns called reactive material architectures that can be controlled and directed. “I think it has a lot of potential,” said Neely, Ph.D. ’20. “You just print it, put it on the joint and light it.” Neely, who starts her job as a propulsion engineer at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in August, successfully used the printed paste to heat solder to fuse aluminum, and, more recently, copper lap joints.

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The paste is about the consistency of peanut butter. The recipe […]

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