Manufacturing of Robust Ceramic/Metal Joints for Alkali Metal Thermal-to-Electric Converters

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Triton Systems, Inc.
200 Turnpike Road Array
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


60392 This project will apply a laser fabrication process to the manufacture of components for Alkali-Metal Thermal-to-Electric Converters (AMTEC), addressing the joining problem that has plagued AMTEC for years. The laser fabrication process can produce high performance AMTEC materials that are more reliable and economical for long-life, high power generation for both deep space exploration and terrestrial applications. Advanced fabrication/joining methods will be employed to permit the use of higher temperature stable materials. Through controlled, localized heating, the heat-affected zone in the parent materials will be minimized. Phase I demonstrated the fabrication of metal, ceramic and graded materials using the LF3 process and a clear path to producing continuous components for the tube/plenum assembly. Phase II will establish the suitability of the proposed technology for producing components for the tube/plenum assembly. AMTEC components will be produced directly from CAD models without the need for tooling or extensive machining. Proof of concept will be shown through thermal cycling, helium leak testing, ionic conductivity, and thermal/sodium compatibility testing. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Space applications include deep space exploration, space-based radar and laser satellite platforms, and communications satellite power generation. Terrestrial applications include home and business uninterruptible power supplies, remote power generation, and auxiliary power units for heavy duty trucks.