Final Product Proposal & Calendar

 

Introduction & Statement of Purpose

My final product will be the design of the exoskeletal pieces of my proposed space suit for the Mars mission. The proposed space suit is a hybrid suit that uses exoskeletal parts for the upper torso and joints, but then uses skin tight garment for the limbs, similar to the Biosuit, a space activity suit. The skin tight garment uses a nickel titanium alloy. When heated to 60℃, the alloys will return to their “set” memory shape, allowing the suit to be skin tight. My final product itself will focus on a specific portion of my space suit proposal, the exoskeletal joints and upper torso, simply because there is no current solution that pairs well with space activity suits, making it an area fit for research. Exoskeletal pieces are needed to increase mobility and support. Currently, space activity suits cannot bear the weight of the life support system, liquid cooling and ventilation device, and more. These functions must be present on the suit and are fairly heavy. This means that an upper torso must be created where the center of mass is still in line with the body, preventing the astronaut from tipping over. I plan on solving this problem by testing different materials and designs to create functional exoskeletal joints and torso.

 

The purpose of the product is to use my knowledge gained over this year, as well as my analytical and problem solving skills, to innovate my own solution to a problem that plagues the astronautical engineering field currently. Granted, the aerospace engineering field is extremely complex and I simply do not have the knowledge or experience necessary to create the “best” solution. This is why the focus of the project is my personal growth in knowledge and skill and how I apply it.

 

Review of Skills and Research

My original work lays the foundation of the research necessary for this product. I thoroughly researched the necessary criteria all space suits must meet, as well as the criteria for Mars specifically. My research and evaluation of the Biosuit and other proposed space suits allowed me to find the “flaws” and areas of improvement that I am targeting with my final product. Going forward, I need to research historical and current materials used for joint construction in space suits. I also need to dive deeper into how pressure is applied to the human body. This will help me determine what layering or design technique I will use on the exoskeletal parts.

I learned about pressure lines and the necessary applied pressure that allow the human body and its organs to sustain themselves. I have also learned about different alloys that I can apply to my product. One of my main goals is to gain expertise in material engineering. This means I will need to grow my knowledge of chemistry and material science in order to understand the connections between structure, pressure, and manufacturing of materials. Another important area I need to gain proficiency in is layering designs and techniques to see how material can be most weaved together for the strongest, but still malleable design.

 

Methodology

To create this product, I need to first research the current materials used for both hard and soft exoskeletal portions of space suits. Then, I need to consult with my mentor about material science/engineering, to see what materials could possibly work. The most important step for this project is creating effective designs and it is where I will need the most help from my mentor. After determining the best material, I will then move on to designing the weaving patterns and layering necessary to create an airtight, strong, evenly pressurized exoskeleton. With his help, I can create multiple design patterns and improve them to increase its strength and flexibility. I must then translate my final design from a blueprint onto design software, which will be the greatest difficulty of this whole process. Once I determine the best design, I plan on using a 3D printer to create a scale model of said exoskeletal pattern. I will prove the improved quality of the material or alloy I decide upon and its functionality in the design pattern. Finally, I will present the research, material, and model of my exoskeletal pieces of my proposed space suit.

 

Materials

I will need access to different metals, alloys, and other materials. I will need to reach out to the material science research department of UNT. Other than this, I will use a 3D printer to create a model of my design. I need to ask for permission to use either the library or CTE 3D printers. The technology can be easily accessed and I am certain that I will be able to use it free of charge.

 

Conclusions

The result of my final product is the creation of exoskeletal upper torso and joints. This is one portion of the hybrid space suit I proposed in my original work. At the conclusion of my product I will have tested numerous materials, fibers, and designs, and decided which material and design will be the most successful at being strong, flexible, and hold the weight of the life support systems. Additionally, I will have a 3D printed model of my design pattern.

 

My final product will benefit me and my knowledge in the astronautical field. It will teach me about the design element of engineering, an area that I have not really explored. Design is essential to all types of engineering and gaining this experience will help me understand what I truly want to do in the future and could become a possible long term research project. My design could be applied to other fields that require materials of a similar nature, like orthopedics, where bone strength is also necessary. Also, I hope my product will inspire others to use 3D printing and help the community grow an interest in aerospace engineering as a whole.

 

Calendar

02/26 - 03/05 一 Finish mentor paperwork and set up mentor visit

03/05 - 03/12 一 Research current materials used for both hard and soft exoskeleton + Lockheed Martin visit

03/12 - 03/19 一 Continue research on material science

03/19 - 03/26 一 Reach out to material scientists + decide on material

03/26 - 04/02 一 Discuss design elements + UNT Material Science Lab visit

04/02 - 04/09 一 Research design component of engineering + different patterns + get into contact with professional design engineer on different softwares

04/09 - 04/16 一 Brainstorm + create multiple design sketches + keep learning design software (Solid Edge)

04/16 - 04/23 一 Come up with multiple designs + design software + mentor visit

04/23 - 04/30 一 Finalize design and use 3D printer to create a model + mentor visit

04/30 - 05/07 一 Wrap up model, research, blueprint (final product) + mentor visit

05/07 - 05/14 一 Begin work on final slides of presentation

05/14 - 05/21 一 Practice and final touches on presentation + mentor visit

 

*research of design process and material science research can be switched in the timeline if necessary

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