2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 8)

USST found itself in the position of having to make a new collector array.  The cells in this array needed to be mounted on a composite “sandwich” of several materials which had to be bonded together.  They needed a flat surface to place the sandwich on and then had to be able to put a large amount of pressure on the sandwich to make sure that the adhesives used would bond properly.  They initially asked permission to use one of the steel plates (shown in Entry 2), but this didn’t work out because it would have been extremely difficult to place this weight on top of the sandwich in a manner which would have slowly and evenly increased the pressure.

The solution they came up with was ingenious – once the sandwiches were “made”, they stacked them on top of each other and put a couple of sheets of plywood on top (to even out the pressure).  They then put a large pail of water onto the center of the sandwich and then surrounded the pail with four large garbage cans, one at each corner.  They then slowly and evenly filled the garbage cans with water until there was more than a half-ton of pressure; enough to make the bonds solid.

As I said, ingenious.  All the materials were on hand and cost them nothing.


(Note the overexposed portions of the team member’s uniforms.  This is reflective tape which reflected the light from my camcorder’s flash unit.  Click on the thumbnails for a larger version of the picture)

1 thought on “2007 Space Elevator Games – (Entry 8)

  1. Composites

    Great idea to use the water to help evenly and uniformly distribute the needed pressure. As you know, having the adhesive form a tight bond between the core and the skin is crucial to prevent “bubbles” that can lead to delamination… and ultimately failure.

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