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MSSI/Bernal Institute Research Forum - Thursday, 23 February at 12h00

MSSI/Bernal Institute Research Forum - Thursday, 23 February at 12h00

Professor Kenneth Stanton, University College Dublin.


Inorganic Materials in Space


The talk will describe three examples of space-related materials research. The first is concerned with materials-mediated thermal management of the Variable Specific Impulse Plasma Rocket (VASIMR) initially developed at the lab of Dr Franklin Chang Diaz, a veteran of seven space shuttle missions and founder of the NASA Advanced Spaceflight Laboratory and then Ad Astra Rocket Co. in Houston and Costa Rica. UCD PhD students undertook projects in thermal analysis of the heat flux from the plasma containment tube of the engine and subsequently conducted inverse thermal and finite element modelling and a materials-selection exercise to inform design of the engine for steady state use relevant to deep space missions. The second example is concerned with the development of SolarWhite, an inorganic high-temperature coating for the ESA Solar Orbiter mission due to launch in 2018. This bespoke coating has successfully passed all necessary and extremely rigourous space-flight qualification steps and has been deemed mission critical by ESA. Space flight hardware has been coated by Enbio Ltd, who have licenced the IP from UCD and carry out production work at a manufacturing facility in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. The final example concerns recent work carried out in collaboration with UCD School of Physics and ESA to develop novel glass-ceramic scintillators for gamma-ray astronomy. Recent work has successfully produced gadolinium chloride glass-ceramics with fast scintillation response capable of resolving a gamma-ray photopeak. The fabrication advantages of producing scintillators using the glass-ceramic methods combined with the chemical and mechanical robustness of these materials may provide advantages over single-crystal scintillators for future ESA missions.


Kenneth Stanton obtained a BSc in Materials Science at the University of Limerick in 1995. This was followed by an MSc in Physics Research from Royal Holloway University of London before he returned to UL for doctoral study in Professor Hill’s group in the Department of Materials Science and Technology. He then joined the academic staff as a Junior Lecturer in UL in 2000. He subsequently became a Lecturer and then Research Scholar before moving to UCD in 2004 where he is now the Programme Director for MEngSc and ME programmes in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. He is also Head of Subject for MSE at UCD and the Graduate School Director for the College of Engineering and Architecture. His diverse research interests in biomaterials, space materials, nanomaterials and industrial materials have ceramic, glass and glass-ceramic inorganic materials as a central theme. He has also maintained an interest in metallurgy and most of his work on metals has been on titanium: he is currently engaged in a project supported by DePuy Synthes on interstitial gas uptake in Ti-alloys during high-temperature manufacturing processes.

DATE:           Thursday, 23 February 2017

TIME:            12h00

VENUE:        MSG-025 MSSI Building Extension


For further information, please contact: deanse@ul.ie