Recent Patents on Space Technology

Sang H. Choi  
NASA Langley Research Center
Hampton, VA
USA

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Toward Inflatable Structures with Functional Phase Transitions: An Upto- Date Review with a View of Potentials

Author(s): Benjamin F. Dorfman

Affiliation: Atomic-Scale Design, Inc., 229 19th Avenue No. 9, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA.

Keywords: Space, space exploration, inflatable structures, smart inflatable structures, tunable albedo, phase transitions, tuneable phase transition, metal - insulator transitions

Abstract:

Dynamic inflatable structures may complement rigid structures in their long-term mission or permanent life in space. Multifunctional inflatable structures may serve as replaceable co-journeyers, temporal extensions, flexible arms and “sense organs” of rigid structures. Mass-energy effective and sensitive phase transitions are particularly feasible as a physical base for many functions of ultra-light inflatable structures. In this course, the article suggests a dual conceptual patent review: for space inflatable structures and for functionally employed phase transitions patented in the field of space technology or potentially applicable for it. On a quality level, smart inflatable structures with intrinsic phase-transitional properties are considered as well. The method of durable protection extending the life and functions of inflatable structures is also reviewed.

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Article Details

VOLUME: 2
ISSUE: 2
Page: [85 - 96]
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.2174/1877611611202020085