Brazing of Aluminum alloys IN Space (BRAINS)

Science Objective

Brazing with a molten alloy is a possible solution for the repair of damaged space vehicles/habitats, and for construction in the microgravity of space or in human habitats (controlled atmosphere and/or vacuum). The flow of the brazing liquid on Earth is controlled by Earth’s gravity, but in space, gravity is negligible. Thus, when building structures in space, it’s important to understand how microgravity affects the ability to join materials. 

Status

This experiment is planned to launch aboard SpaceX-21 to the International Space Station (ISS) in December 2020.

Experiment Description

The Brazing of Aluminum alloys IN Space (BRAINS) experiment will examine how to bond materials in space. When astronauts are living and working on long-duration missions, they will need to know how to effectively repair and join metal parts in the microgravity environment. It is critical that astronauts are able to create strong joints via a process known as brazing to ensure safe and lasting structures.

Black and white image of molten composite alloy
Preflight imagery of Al-Si molten composite alloy equilibrium state after a capillary flow on an AA3003 pin, (a) initial state, (b) equilibrium state. (c) microstructure of the resolidified sample. The BRazing of Aluminum alloys IN Space (SUBSA-BRAINS) investigation examines differences in capillary flow, interface reactions, and bubble formation during solidification of brazing alloys in microgravity. Image courtesy of D. Sekulic, University of Kentucky. 

Related Links

Space Station Research Explorer - BRAINS