Microgravity 101: Understanding the Significance of In-Space Manufacturing

J.J. Frick, J. Janowitz
Astral Materials,
United States

Keywords: materials science, semiconductors, microgravity


Materials science emphasizes understanding how the processing of a material influences its structure, and thus the material’s properties and performance—aka the processing-structure-properties paradigm. For example, under precise control of processing parameters (e.g., elemental composition, heat treatment, cooling rate) the mechanical strength of a titanium alloy can be optimized for different use cases, ranging from aircraft components to dental implants. Today, materials science continues to be at the forefront of scientific research and technological innovation, with the materials paradigm being used to advance understanding in a variety of manufacturing areas including nanotechnology, biomaterials, renewable energy, and metallurgy. As humanity faces complex challenges such as climate change and resource depletion, the development of new materials and sustainable manufacturing processes will play a crucial role in shaping the future of our civilization. Using semiconductors as an example, this talk will explore how microgravity processing influences the materials paradigm to give a deeper understanding of the true significance and potential in-space manufacturing has to offer materials engineering and discovery.