Tianhe Core Module, the first part of a planned new space station of China, was launched recently. The core device of the Container-free Laboratory Cabinet, one of the two cabinets in the cabin, is developed by a collaborated research team from the Institute of Intelligent Machines (IIM) of Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) and the Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"What we have been focusing on is the experimental chamber subsystem of the container-free materials," said SHI Yungao, director of Advanced Manufacturing center of IIM.
They have been working on this chamber subsystem project for five years. In this period, they tackled the technical difficulties including the design and manufacture of complex high vacuum cavity structure, the release and recovery of experimental samples and the suspension position control.
Boasting with the function of electrostatic levitation experiment, the device can shorten the operation time of astronauts and improve the efficiency of scientific experiments and man-machine efficiency.
After being in orbit, it is expected to realize the research on deep undercooling solidification process, mechanism of metals and nonmetals, the preparation of new functional materials, and the precise measurement of thermophysical properties of high temperature melts.
Tianhe means "harmony of the heavens" in Chinese. As one of the three main parts China plans to use to build the first self-developed, permanent space station, it is built to house Chinese astronauts during stays of up to six months.
The core device of the Container-free Laboratory Cabinet (Image by CHEN Hong)
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