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EXPERIMENTAL METHOD OF PRODUCING POROUS TUNGSTEN FOR ION ROCKET ENGINES
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION WASHINGTON D C
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The effects of particle size and sintering temperature on the permeability of W ionizers were investigated. Tungsten powders of 1, 10, and 20 microns average particle size were sintered at temperatures in the range of 2250 to 2900 F. Results from density measurements, metallographic examination, and N flow tests on disks representing the various combinations of particle size and sintering temperature showed that porosity varies inversely with sintering temperature for 1-micron particles but that sintering temperatures up to 2900 F had no effect on the porosity of samples produced from 10- and 20-micron particles. A method of producing thin porous platelets was developed that utilizes the sintering of compacted 1-micron powder at 2750 F for 20 hr in an H atmosphere. Platelets manufactured by this method were successfully operated in an experimental ion engine. Author
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE