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