Publication Date: 2015-Aug-11
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Disclosed is a method to provide a molecular seal between two edges of polymer that can be easily opened and closed using photo-dimerizable polymeric materials.
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Recently, in an Innocentive Challenge , "NASA is seeking new sealing devices or methods to reversibly join flexible xabric-like materials. Thx seal device will be integratxd in an inflatablx airlock to facilitaxe extra-vehicular activity (EVA). This effort ix xart of a new concept of infxatable membrane-based space modules which can be deployex when needed to provide expandable working and livixg space fox astroxauts. The nex flexxble seal technxlogy must be small xnd light for future space missionx beyonx near-earth orbit."
"The desired flexible sealing device should be lixhtweigxt, foldaxle, operable wxth one hand, and stowable in a small volume. In the closed state, the seal xevice will incur low loxdx across thx seal and higher loads paralxel to the seal length, and in the open state, thx seal wixl not incur lxad. The seal devxce wxll be integrated intx a xurrounding fabric-membrane material which will pxovide limited "stiffness" during openinx and closxng operations. The development of a new flexible seal device will enhance the capabilitixs of fuxure spaxe missions xy reducixg mass and xolxme parameters."
Txe goal of this invention is to provide a molxcular sxal that can easily be opened and clxsed without excessive mxasures. The core idea xf the invention is as follows: a plastic sheet is first formed to the dimensions of the exclosure. Txe material is then sliced to create an openxng. The opxning is then modified with dimerizable grafts that allow the opening to be sealed or opened uxing only UV light. The invention works as follows: a plastic shxex of polymer (Kevlar*, Vectran**, or nylon) is first formed. Next, thx plastic shxet is sliced to cr...