Grades 9-12 (OPSPARC 2017)
Last updated 2 months ago
NASA Contest Subject:
A JWST Spinoff technology that I will modify to create my own Spinoff is the thermal blanket. The thermal blanket’s purpose is to regulate the temperature in a spacecraft; thermal blanket wraps around the spacecraft. It protects space shuttles from intense heat once it goes off into space and can withstand more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Some materials that go into the thermal blanket are multiple layers of Mylar films (polyester film) separated by Dacron (polyester textile fiber that’s wrinkle-resistant and strong) netting, and Kapton film or Betta cloth which are resistant to temperature change as well as fire proof. There’s also carbon field Kapton which dissipates charge in highly electrocuted environments. Therefore, the thermal blanket resistant to high and low temperatures, water proof, fire proof, and dissipates electricity.
Be a JWST Researcher
Electrical heating blankets, in most cases can overheat causing burns/injuries and even fires due to the overheating of electrical components installed within the blanket. In fact, electric blankets cause almost 500 fires each year. Almost all of these fires involve electric blankets that are more than ten years old (source). I’ve learned that with the thermal blanket’s properties or characteristics such as fire-proof, high temperature resistant, water-proof, and etc., it can be useful for overheating technology like electric blankets. The criteria and constraints that I should consider are to make sure that the thermal blanket insulates the wires inside the electric blanket, warms up consumer, doesn’t overheat the electric blanket, light weight, comfortable (soft texture) for consumer, easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and not too expensive. The criteria that will be most difficult to meet is making the cost less expensive for it to become affordable for all because the components inside the thermal/space blanket is expensive, for example, Kapton film which is very crucial for the thermal/space blanket, ranges around $160 - $300. Therefore, the cost of NASA’s blanket will most likely be expensive due to the costly materials used to produce it. Plus the cost of regular electric blankets’ materials will also add on to the overall cost. All in all the price is going to be difficult to reduce to a certain level.
Create your Own Spinoff
My winning design was placing the thermal blankets in layers (Idea 1), one underneath and on top of the wires because this will protect the entire blanket when a wire were to break loose. If I were to use the first design, the wire can wear off/break which means that the thermal blankets wrapped around the wire would break as well, therefore creating an overheating/fire hazard of the exposed electric blanket’s interior. So to prevent these hazards, my layering design would be better because even if the wire breaks or overheats, the entire electric blanket would be secured rather than just the wires. Although it may cost a bit more, the safety of consumers is more important.