Experiment Operation During Apollo IVA at 0-g

Experiment: Composite Casting Demonstration

Acronym: None

PI/Engineer: I. C. Yates, Jr.
Other Contacts: none

Apollo Flight Nos.: 14
Apollo Exp't No.: none

Discipline: Materials Science - Composites (2660)

Weight: 3.5 kg
Dimensions: roughly 10 x 10 x 21 cm

Manufacturer: Process Engineering Lab (Marshall SFC)

The apparatus consisted of an electrical heater, a storage box for the heater which also served as a heat sink for cooling the samples to touch temperature before removal, and 18 samples contained in hermetically sealed metal capsules. A beta cloth bag resembling a cartridge belt was used to store the sample capsules.

Eleven samples of various immiscible compositions were heated, mixed by shaking (some had been premixed), and allowed to solidify by cooling in 0-g. Specimens were processed in a small heating chamber (fig 5-4 in Mission Report) and returned for examination and testing. Lab analysis, including X-ray, indicated that more homogeneous mixing was achieved than is possible with similar samples on Earth.

Unloading from the LM: NA

Transporting by foot or MET: NA

Loading/unloading tools/exp'ts on LRV: NA

Site Selection:
The experiment was mounted in the docking tunnel via a spring during operation.

Deploying experiment:
The experiment was deployed by opening its storage box, attaching a power cable, mounting the unit in the docking tunnel with a spring, and installing an extractor pin.

Check-out of experiment: NA

Operation of experiment:
After set-up of the unit, procedures called for inserting each capsule into the heater, heating for a prescribed time to melt the contents of the capsule, shaking in some cases to mix the materials, and cooling by placing the heater and capsule onto the heat sink. The right half of the storage box was a massive section of aluminum with an integrally machined heat sink pin which made contact with the specimen capsule.

The unit was plugged into the 28 VDC utility receptacle using the Data Acquisition Camera power cable, and a switch on the panel was used to turn the heater on and off. The shaking procedure, when required, involved bumping each end of the heater against the heel of the had 4 times to dislodge any particles trapped in the ends of the capsule; 3 cycles of alternately shaking the heater axially 10 times, oscillating in a rotary motion 15 times; and finishing by oscillating 10 times going from a vigorous motion to very slow.

No problems with the equipment or procedures were noted. The CSM needed to be out of the passive thermal control (barbecue) mode in order to perform this demonstration. Only 11 of 18 samples were completed because there was not sufficient time while out of this mode. The last sample had a few small RCS firings about halfway through the cooling cycle.

Repairs to experiment:
Sample 10 was heated at least twice because RCS firings occurred during the 1st cooling cycle. Several RCS firings occurred at ~15 min. into the cooling cycle on sample 12, but mission constraints prevented reheating.

Recovery/take-down of experiment: No comments by crew.

Stowing experiment for return: No comments by crew.

Loading/unloading samples on LRV: NA

Loading of exp't/samples into the LM: NA

Stowing of package once in the LM: NA

Sampling operations - soil, rocks: NA

Trenching: NA

Raking: NA

Drilling: NA

Navigating/recognizing landmarks: NA

Were there any hazards in the experiment?
i.e. hazardous materials (explosive, radioactive, toxic), sharp objects, high voltages, massive, bulky, tripping hazards, temperatures?
The experiment design was dictated by maximum touch temperature, toxicity, flammability, and other safety factors in addition to the standard mass, etc. The materials used were not that useful themselves, but were intended to model the reduced gravity effects which would be expected to occur in other more directly useful materials. Redundant thermal switches were installed to ensure that the outside surfaces of the heater did not exceed 40 degree; C.

Was lighting a problem? No

Were the results visible to the crew? No

Would you recommend any design changes? No comments by crew.

Were any special tools required?
An extractor pin was used to remove specimens from the heater.

Was the orientation of the experiment (i.e. horizontal/vertical) important? Difficult? NA

Was the experiment successful?
Yes. Qualitative results in a very limited range of materials and under processing conditions that were not instrumented or closely controlled were obtained.

Were there related experiments on other flights? Apollo? Other?
See Skylab and Shuttle database. This experiment was scheduled to fly again on A-15 but was canceled due to a hardware malfunction.

Where was it stored during flight?
Storage lockers listed for timer - A5, power cable - B3, specimen and heater box - A8.

Were there any problems photographing the experiment?
Not attempted since capsules were not transparent.

What pre-launch and cruise req'ts were there?

What was different between training and actual operation?
No comments by crew.

What problems were due to the suit rather than the experiment?

Any experiences inside the CM of interest from the experiment/operations viewpoint?
Performed on trans-lunar and trans-Earth coast (TEC with live color television during a press conference.)


A-14 Mission Report

TM X-64641, "Apollo 14 Composite Casting Demonstration Final Report, I. C. Yates, Jr.

Apollo Program Summary Report, section 3.6 Inflight Demonstrations, JCS-09423, April, 1975.

Apollo 14 Technical Crew Debriefing 17 February 1971, in the JSC History Office.

Apollo Stowage List - Apollo 14, MSC, 9 February 1971