7
$\begingroup$

Are there any known materials which could only (or a lot easier) be manufactured in microgravity and which would have properties which would make them useful for industrial applications back on earth?

Are there any companies which seriously consider to commercially manufacture these materials in factories in low-earth orbit?

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Materials science in microgravity is an incredibly broad topic. As far as I can tell all the space-faring nations and agencies have their own research in the field, e.g. from Sweden, ESA,... Problem with industrial-scale use of microgravity environment is more one of economics (getting to and from orbit and keeping costs down) than interests. Are you interested in anything in particular? $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Apr 6 '14 at 14:24
  • $\begingroup$ @TidalWave I was wondering if there would be a market for certain materials which require microgravity to manufacture and how far launch-costs would have to be reduced to make it economically feasible to produce such materials in orbit. $\endgroup$ – Philipp Apr 6 '14 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ Could be, in the future, but for the time being most of the effort is focused on providing microgravity research facilities in LEO (that's in a nutshell what ISS is). Once benefits of some microgravity grown / assembled structures are tested and proven (say potency of drugs for which longer crystals were grown than currently possible in gravity) however, there's gonna be a lot of follow-up research in establishing manufacturing techniques to achieve the same benefits here on Earth too, where it would be a lot cheaper and convenient to do so. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Apr 6 '14 at 14:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Lead shot was manufactured In what was effectively microgravity for nearly 200 years... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shot_tower $\endgroup$ – DJohnM Apr 7 '14 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ @User58220, Put a few more words in there and that start of a good answer. $\endgroup$ – James Jenkins Apr 7 '14 at 15:56
1
$\begingroup$

Ultra high quality magnetostrictive materials can be made in microgravity.

Perfect single crystal structures can be made in microgravity.

These are extremely useful here on earth.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Would be nice if you could explain the technologies and challenges involved. $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Jul 30 '14 at 8:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.