IIT Madras will develop manufacturing technologies in space and fill the gaps
IITM researchers aim to develop manufacturing technologies like 3D printing of metals, functional optical polymers, waterless concrete using martial soils, etc.
IIT Madras (Source: Official website)
NEW DELHI: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Madras has set up a research group to develop technologies for manufacturing products in extraterrestrial locations and fill existing gaps in this sector in India, officials say. According to the team, India is a leader in the development and application of technologies for the manufacture of launch vehicles and satellites. However, the near future will require technologies that will allow products and assemblies to be manufactured in space and in extraterrestrial locations for use both in space and brought back for use on earth, they said. .
Researchers aim to address these challenges by developing a wide range of manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing of functional optical metals and polymers, waterless concrete using martial soils, diamond single crystals, solar cells and foams. metallic, they said. The research group in charge of developing technologies for extra-terrestrial manufacturing (ExTem) will work on India’s first-ever established Drop Tower microgravity research facility, which was established at the National Combustion Research and Development Center at the ‘IIT Madras, and is one of six airdrop towers around the world.
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“The human effort to explore space like never before, including establishing colonies in distant places, will take a long time for humans to spend on a spacecraft just to get there.” Such missions Long-term human spacecraft is only achievable with reduced earth-confidence and this requires the ability to manufacture and manufacture the necessary products in space, in orbit, in extraterrestrial locations and to effectively recycle materials,” said Sathyan Subbiah, Principal Investigator of the ExTeM Research Group at IIT Madras told PTI.
The ExTeM research group was created as part of the Institute of Eminence (IoE) initiative. “The center is currently conducting several drop tower experiments to test manufacturing processes such as 3D printing of various engineering materials (metals, polymers), metal foaming, and diamond coating, among others, to enable manufacturing in outer space”. of microgravity and the benefits it offers for controlling and adapting material structures cannot be ignored,” he added.
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The manufacturing technologies needed for space will differ significantly from those based on Earth due to the constraints posed by limited space, limited power, influence of microgravity, and limitations to track process inputs and outputs. and to efficiently recycle by-products. “The space race, with a vision to inhabit and exploit extraterrestrial spaces (outside the Earth) is at the center of the concerns of the scientific community during this century. The obstacles likely to be encountered are the high cost of transporting resources from Earth and the limited availability of resources at ET.
“To overcome these challenges, we need extraterrestrial manufacturing capability (ExTeM), to maximize the use of available energy and material resources,” he said. It is envisioned that such processes will be used to manufacture products in the future that will be produced commercially by private companies using specially designed manufacturing plants floating in orbit around the earth or at any extraterrestrial location, the researchers said.
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Amit Kumar, Co-Principal Investigator of the research group, said: “Scientific research and development must be conducted in microgravity conditions to address the above challenges encompassing safety (e.g. fire safety), understanding the natural behaviors of fluids and materials, including under energy- “Among the various methods used to achieve microgravity conditions, drop towers provide a microgravity platform on the ground.”
“The cost-effectiveness, short turnaround times and high-quality microgravity make the drop tower ideal for sustained microgravity experiments at least at the first level and therefore easily accessible to academic and space organizations alike” , he added.
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