h a l f b a k e r y
I think this would be a great thing to not do.
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A manufacturing module attached to the ISS. The module
would contain borosilicate glass tubes. The tubes and the
module would be exposed to open space. The open end of
the tube would pass through an insulated ring. Within that
ring would be heating elements to melt the end closed.
After a short
anneal, the tube would slide forward, and
melting process repeated. Eventually, a line of glass
sausages would be created. Each sausage would be
filled with actual space.
Upon retrieval by astronauts and a refill of the glass tubes
in the manufacturing unit, the individual space sausages
would be broken apart, packaged and sent back to earth
with other materials being sent back. SpaceX could sell
them for $300 each to help fund their next flight.
Balls of "nothing" have been proposed before, but we are
the first company to have mastered the manufacturing to
make it viable. With a compressive strength of 20 x
106KN/m2, the crushing problems associated with
previous schemes is eliminated. With automated
throughput, large quantities of product may be produced
with little human intervention. Also, the benefit of being
able to *see* your space and "show" it to friends makes
this a more viable business model than previous attempts.
Bonus: Act now and for only $100 additional, we can insert
piece of parchment with the Shema Yisrael. Be the first in
your kibbutz to have a Space Mezuzah.
[Klaatu, Mar 01 2013]
[Klaatu, Mar 01 2013]
[FlyingToaster, Mar 01 2013]
Egg timer in plastic
[Klaatu, Mar 01 2013]
Sealing glass ampules
[Klaatu, Mar 01 2013]
Crushing ping pong balls
"The real crush depth will be between a half and a quarter of this value, matching the experimental value of approximately 30 meters." [Klaatu, Mar 01 2013]
[Klaatu, Mar 01 2013]
||[FlyingToaster] apologies for not including yours, also
as inspiration. <link> I did see it and the issue seemed
to be a problem getting the ping pong balls halves
into, and out of, the machine without losing vacuum.
In addition, ping pong balls have very little
compressive strength. (Try scuba diving with them.
They "squish" at a fairly shallow depth)
||My idea differs in that 1) the ampules of "space" are
created in space. 2) compressive issues have been
dealt with by glass. 3) they are clear and you can
observe the treasure inside. 4) sealed glass should
maintain the vacuum forever. (unknown permeability
of ping pong balls over time)
||I feel that mine is a superior product and different
enough to stand on its own merits.
||I believe [spidermother], channeling Mythbusters, disproved the crushed-pingpong-balls theory. And my product is real organic outer-space vacuum, albeit from concentrated vacuum which is much cheaper to transport.
||I will certainly grant that the ability to gaze upon the wondrous substance at any time is a plus (perhaps celluloid could also be made more transparent).
||I'll be selling much cheaper, but sticking to a generic "from outer space" tag, harvesting from whatever is the most cost-effective collection locale.
||Glass is still gas permeable. This would have a long
but not infinite life.
||Second, glass is heavy. Getting it up there and
back is going to eat up a portion of your profits.
At the best possible estimate for launch cost
(Falcon Heavy) it's maybe $20, but at current
prices it's more likely to run up towards $100. And
that's just for the poor quality LEO vacuum. If you
want the good geosynchronous stuff, you'd better
set the price much higher. This
ignores the handling equipment, so you better sell
lots to amortize that. It also ignores the fact that
I'm not sure anyone has done work on how molten
behaves in vacuum.
||[MechE] Thinner borosilicate glass tubes would not
have a lot of weight, and if you are making ampules,
each tube should be able to make at least 40 small
ampules or more. At $300 per ampule, that equates
to $12,000 per tube. Say...30 tubes at $12,000 each
comes to around $360,000 before you need to reload.
||As far as gas permeability, I have worked with glass
as a glassblower and with glass ampules in the
Emergency Room. They are extremely non-permeable
when fire sealed.
||Working glass in a vacuum is not an issue. Unless you
are blowing glass, the glass behaves normally. The
real question would be micro-gravity. I can tell you
that molten glass will tend to pull itself together
when molten. As long as the heating is
circumferential, the open glass end will fuse closed.
||I'm talking in terms of decades for in-gassing to be
a problem, but it does occur.
||Are you sure about molten glass in vacuum? Glass
is mixture, and if some of the components boil off
at a different rates (which I believe they would),
the mechanical properties could be compromised.
||As far as the weight, I was figuring on each ampule
equal to .25 in^3 size for my costs. If you make
them to small/thin walled they will break during
handling even if they can hold the vacuum.
||Of course both the handling and ingassing issues
could be improved by adding additional glass (or
even a plastic like lucite) once it was back on
||//Are you sure about molten glass in vacuum?//
||Yes. There is nothing to "mix". In some ways, it would
be easier. When glassblowing, you are in a constant
fight against gravity and must keep the piece rotating
to preclude a molten puddle on the floor.
||I like your idea about encasing in Lucite®. I've seen
hourglasses encased in Lucite® <link> and it would
give added strength and a place to engrave (for only
||hmm... without a gas in the center, any glassblowing attempts will end up as variations on a donut.
||[FlyingToaster] The point is that you are *not* blowing
the glass, just sealing it.
||As a glassblower, I have sealed pieces just by heating
in a flame without collapse, on a pontil - not a
blowpipe. Because glass has such poor heat
conductivity, it is possible to heat just a small section
and to have it seal itself.
||yes but it won't vary from a solid mass unless it has a reason to, ie: how are you going to get the hole into it ?
||[FlyingToaster] If you read the idea, it is about using
borosilicate glass ->->->tubes<-<-<-. Suggestion, take
some glass tubing and heat one end in a propane torch.
It will answer your all of your questions. Or, you might
want to watch the video <link> to see how it is done.
||We are not trying to do freeblown glass in space. We
are doing lampworking. Major difference.
||//After a short anneal,// you said in the idea. But you could do a bit longer anneal of the open tube prior to sealing, and remove the gasses from the glass itself. A lot more effective than any "getter" would be in an artificial-vacuum glass piece.
||There are a lot of vacuum tube devices made in the 1920's that still work fine. That's getting close to a century, so the lower bound on lifetime is going to be, at a minimum, longer than the lifetime of the purchaser.
||There's a lot of vacuum tube equipment, but I defy
you to find a tube that old. Unlike modern ICs or
even board level transistors, vacuum tubes were
||And [Klatuu] I've done glass blowing as well.
There's nothing to mix at the macro level, but glass
is a mixture of materials, primarily silicates but
with additives (sodium carbonate and various
calcium compounds for soda lime, boric, sodium
and aluminum oxides for borosilicate). Under
pressure, none of those components evaporate
enough to matter, I won't swear the same is true
in vacuum. I won't swear it isn't either, but unless
you can point me to some research, I'd be
concerned about it.
||[K] okay, I did actually read the idea :) but I noticed everybody chatting about glass-blowing so I thought you changed it.
||//I've done glass blowing as well.//
||Awesome [MechE]. Who did you study with? I had the
of being in Madison in '64 and got to watch Harvey
Littleton teaching. I was there with Dr. Robert C
(Uncle Bob). When we returned to San Jose State, I
to help build the furnaces, lear and all of the blocks
and paddles in preparation for the first class in
glassblowing on the west coast. Heady days. I had my
when I was 16 and Erwin Eisch requested, and took, a
piece of my glass for his personal collection.
||I wasn't claiming any particular skill, just that I've
done it and understand the basics.
||The latter was coming more from my knowledge of
materials and chemistry, and the difficulty of
working with volatile materials in a non-standard