With assistance from the NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP), Technifab Products, Inc., a manufacturer of cryogenic pipe and hose products based in Brazil, has improved the process of removing water vapor from its vacuum jacketed cryogenic pipe.
SATOP, which is operated by the Florida's Technological Research and Development Authority (TRDA), provides free engineering assistance to small businesses with technical challenges through the expertise of the program's Alliance Partners, which consists of more than 25 aerospace companies and universities involved in the U.S. space program.
Although small businesses don't need to be related to the aerospace industry to participate in SATOP, Technifab Products is a supplier to NASA.
Technifab Products designs and manufactures custom cryogenic equipment providing customers with safe, efficient and complete turnkey systems for cryogenic liquid transfer and storage.
Technifab manufactures aluminum and stainless steel pipe and vessels that are insulated using multilayer insulation.
During the manufacturing process, water vapor would frequently get trapped in the insulation fibers so Technifab was continually seeking ways to reduce the pump time required to evacuate the water molecules from the vessel.
"Water vapor inside a vacuum insulated pipe is quite common," Technifab vice president Philip Redenbarger said. "Most of the time spent evacuating any space is spent removing water. Reducing pump time allows more throughput without an increase in capital equipment, resulting in cost reduction and overall improved manufacturing efficiency."
Technifab Products had tried to find a solution by conducting a water measurement project to determine the amount of water typically trapped within the various materials that make up their products. With SATOP's assistance, the company was able to find a proven solution to remove the water vapor, which was derived directly from the Space Industry.