Research Papers

Design Considerations for Development of a Wire-Based Rock Cutting Mechanism for Space Exploration

[+] Author and Article Information
James R. Schwendeman

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401jschwend@mines.edu

Christopher B. Dreyer

Center for Space Resources, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401cdreyer@mines.edu

John P. H. Steele

Center for Space Resources, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401jsteele@mines.edu

J. Mech. Des 132(11), 111010 (Nov 15, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001533 History: Received August 20, 2009; Revised March 14, 2010; Published November 15, 2010; Online November 15, 2010

Exploration and understanding of other celestial bodies will involve the same type of science used to understand our own planet earth. Specifically, much can be learned from studying the geology of the rocks present in a region of interest. One of the important tools used by geologists to understand and interpret rocks is a specimen called thin section. A thin section is produced by slicing a thin (typically 30μm thick) plate or tablet from the rock. In this paper, the design of an autonomous rough cutter, used to produce the first stage of the specimen preparation, that is, a tablet (20×20×5mm3), is presented. Attention is given to the functional specification, the selection of cutting mechanism, in this case, diamond wire, and the design of the wire handling system. Also included are considerations of power usage, wire wear, and system configuration.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Wire , Cutting , Design , Rocks , Pulleys , Diamonds
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Figure 1

Capstan with wire and guide pulley

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Figure 2

Relative power consumption and volume comparison

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Figure 3

Reel storage parameters

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Figure 4

90 deg tensioner layout

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Figure 5

180 deg tensioner layout

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Figure 6

Dynamics of a passive tensioning mechanism

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Figure 7

Force-displacement graph, passive tensioning mechanism

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Figure 8

Free body diagram for simple pulley/wire/rock interaction

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Figure 9

Step response, 1 N m and peak wire tension=46.6 N

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Figure 10

Ramp response, 1 N m peak, 100 N m/s, and peak wire tension=38.95 N



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