Safe Processing of Metal Samples Onboard ISS

J. Kreimer, H. Lenski, P. Neuhaus, A. Seidel, W. Soellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Under certain conditions processing of metal samples at elevated temperatures can lead to generation of fine metal dust which might be toxic. For experiment sample materials that shall be processed onboard the International Space Station (ISS), the toxicological evaluation is performed by NASA's Toxicologist team based on material data provided by scientists and payload teams. In case no detailed analysis on dust formation is available, simplified assumptions are taken to calculate the amount of evaporated metal, usually leading to over- conservative toxicity categorization. However, evaluation of the hazard potential by an analysis on the basis of the actual worst case processing environment is accepted as long as the assumed physical effects can be proven to be correct and the calculation is still conservative. This paper discusses the different aspects of dust generation/limitation and its safe containment dependent on the type of furnace and sample processing environment. Examples of hazard controls for safe processing of metal alloys in two different types of experiments and related furnace facilities are presented.

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