EXPLORATORY STUDY OF IN-SPACE WIRE ARC ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING WITH MODELING APPROACH

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Date

2023

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University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

Countries all over the world are rushing into space exploration due to crisis of energy and resources exhaustion on the Earth. Mars is an obvious target because it has a thin atmosphere, good geological similarity, and is close by in the Solar system. As the satellite of the Earth, Moon is another target since it is very close to the Earth. For the large spacecrafts such as Mars rovers, periodic maintenance is necessary to ensure the completion of long-duration exploration missions. In-space wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) provides a potential solution towards sustainable maintenance with onsite repair or additive manufacturing. For in-space manufacturing, reduced gravity is an important factor. In this work, WAAM processes under reduced gravity conditions on the Mars and Moon were studied through a multi-physics modeling approach. The metal droplet transfer, deposition geometry, thermal dissipation, and other key physics in WAAM were simulated. To validate the modeling approach, an experimental case was conducted on an in-house WAAM platform under the Earth condition.

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