Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




TECH SPACE
Banishing explosive sparks in underground mines
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Sep 19, 2013


Underground mining. Image courtesy Matthiashn.

Vintage space technology was dug up recently to make mines around the world safer by reducing the risks of explosions. Deep beneath Earth's surface, mining equipment is just like much other modern machinery - computer screens show the operators what's going on. Under ordinary circumstances, glass screens would be ideal.

But in a mine, "Glass is difficult, because it breaks too easily," says Johannes Koenig, an engineer at German mine-equipment manufacturer Marco Systemanalyse und Entwicklung GmbH.

Plastic screens, though, have a major drawback: they build up a static charge when touched, potentially creating a tiny spark like the one you get when you walk across a carpet then touch a metal door handle.

In mines, sparks can be disastrous. That's because tunnels filled with clouds of fine coal or mineral dust are explosions waiting to happen. So screens made of scratch-resistant plastic must be protected in some way.

Marco engineers worked with ESA Technology Transfer Network's MST Aerospace to find a solution. With MST's help, they connected with MAT PlasMATec GmbH in Dresden, Germany, who years ago developed coatings for space.

"We saw that the coatings developed by PlasMATec for spacecraft could provide an intelligent solution to Marco's mine problem," saidDr Werner Dupont from MST Aerospace.

Space technology gets new life
PlasMATec's experience with transparent coatings stretches back to before the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. Engineer Andreas Mucha was part of a Soviet-era team that pioneered indium-tin oxides (ITOs) to coat lenses and windows for spacecraft.

Similar coatings were used later on ESA's SOHO satellite for thermal control of the payload pointing towards the Sun, and on Galileo's laser retroreflector array.

Now used in everything from liquid crystal displays and touch panels to solar cells, ITOs conduct electricity and can be applied to surfaces as a transparent, thin layer.

The aerospace use of the technique was first developed for a space camera built by Karl Zeiss Jena for the Soviet space programme. In 1976, the Soyuz-22 manned spacecraft carrying the East German MKF-6 multispectral sensor camera spent eight days in orbit, taking nearly 2500 pictures of Earth. Later, another MKF-6 camera was mounted on Russia's Mir space station.

Dr Mucha and his colleagues coated the MKF-6 lens with a very thin layer of ITO - just a few hundred nanometres thick - to give it a tiny bit of electromagnetic resistance. In space, the coating allowed the lens to be heated slightly via an electric current, to prevent condensation.

Space experience was the right solution
PlasMATec's experience from Mir helped them to repurpose the transparent layer of indium and tin for Marco's mining equipment.

"We coated their polycarbonate screens with basically the same conductive iridium-tin oxide layer we once developed for the lens of the MKF-6 space camera," explained Dr Mucha.

The conductive coating prevents electrostatic charge from building up on the screen, in turn banishing sparks - and preventing underground explosions.

"A conductive film gives the possibility to have no electrical charging - or sparks - if you brush it with your hands," Dr Mucha said. "It's a different purpose than for space, but the same process."

MST Aerospace is the German partner in ESA's Technology Transfer Network set up by the Agency's Technology Transfer Programme Office in 13 European countries, supporting non-space industry to identify solutions among the thousands of ready available space technologies.

.


Related Links
Technology Transfer at ESA
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TECH SPACE
Catalysts team up with textiles
Mulheim, Germany (SPX) Sep 18, 2013
In future, it will be much easier to produce some active pharmaceutical substances and chemical compounds than was the case to date. An international team working with chemists from the Max-Planck-Institut fur Kohlenforschung in Mulheim an der Ruhr have immobilised various catalysts on nylon in a very simple way. Catalysts mediate between the reagents in a chemical reaction and control the ... read more


TECH SPACE
Chang'e-3 lunar probe sent to launch site

Sixteen Tons of Moondust

Scientists say water on moon may have originated on Earth

Moon landing mission to use "secret weapons"

TECH SPACE
Explosive flooding said responsible for distinctive Mars terrain

Upgrade to Mars rovers could aid discovery on more distant worlds

Investigating 'Coal Island' Rock Outcrop

Terramechanics research aims to keep Mars rovers rolling

TECH SPACE
Voyager's departure from the heliosphere

NASA study is enough to make a person want to stay in bed

Voyager 1 spacecraft reaches interstellar space

Q and A: John Richardson and John Belcher on Voyager 1's crossing and interstellar exploration

TECH SPACE
Last Days for Tiangong

China civilian technology satellites put into use

China to launch lunar lander by end of year: media

China launches three experimental satellites

TECH SPACE
ISS Orbit to Be Raised Ahead of Crew Arrival

ISS Releases a White Stork and Awaits a Swan

Three astronauts back on Earth from ISS: mission control

ISS Crew Completes Spacewalk Preps

TECH SPACE
Decontamination continues at Baikonur after Proton abortive launc

Russia launches three communication satellites

Arianespace remains the global launch services leader

Russian space official denies report of problem in Soyuz return

TECH SPACE
ESA selects SSTL to design Exoplanet satellite mission

Coldest Brown Dwarfs Blur Lines between Stars and Planets

NASA-funded Program Helps Amateur Astronomers Detect Alien Worlds

Observations strongly suggest distant super-Earth has water atmosphere

TECH SPACE
Catalysts team up with textiles

Raytheon, Falck Schmidt unveil remotely operated long-range surveillance system

Banishing explosive sparks in underground mines

Yahoo Japan develops 3D search engine-printer




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement