Acoustic Shaping technology could be the
new forefront of space-based manufacturing. This new method uses sound
fields in micro-gravity to conform materials into a desired shape and allow
them to harden, allowing for parts and equipment to be built in space.
With such advancements in mind, it is possible to imagine intricate sound
field tailoring schemes, to form desired internal structures with specific
materials to create an exciting field of manufacturing. Stretching the imagination,
we may one day be able to learn how to form ("grow") complex internal structures
such as those in living beings. On a simpler, more practical level, one can
imagine shoes and clothing custom designed to a precision fit. With acoustic
shaping, all that is needed to go from one shape of mold to the other is
simply changing the sound input, which will thus alter the locations of minimum
potential. Therefore, tests on a sounding rocket and, eventually, the
International Space Station will provide necessary results to develop the
system further. It is imperative that sounding rocket tests take place
in to improve this new technology and to help mankind make the next big step
to life on other planets and outer space.
to view a short clip of the microgravity test showing styrofoam pellets (2-3
mm dia) being "shaped" to the chamber normal mode (1 1 0). View is
from a camera outside the plexiglass chamber looking in from a corner view.