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19 April 2013 FE simulation of SMA seal for Mars sample return
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Several NASA rovers and landers have been on Mars and performed successful in-situ exploration. Returning Martian samples to Earth for extensive analysis is of great interest to the planetary science community. Current Mars sample return architecture would require leaving the acquired samples on Mars for years before being retrieved by subsequent mission. Each sample would be sealed securely to keep its integrity. A reliable seal technique that does not affect the integrity of the samples and uses a simple low-mass tool is required. The shape memory alloy (SMA) seal technique is a promising candidate. A study of the thermal performances of several primary designs of a SMA seal for sample tubes by finite element (FE) simulation are presented in this paper. The results show sealing the sample tube by SMA plugs and controlling the sample temperature below the allowed temperature level are feasible.
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Xiaoqi Bao, Paulo Younse, and Pradeep Bhandari "FE simulation of SMA seal for Mars sample return", Proc. SPIE 8692, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2013, 86924T (19 April 2013);

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