Getting paid to break things

Roamy here.  You have your choice of either a Popular Science article or the original NASA press release concerning a test this month of a 27.5 foot-diameter, 20-foot tall cylinder.

The cylinder being moved on the Kamag is made of welded aluminum-lithium alloy.  Aluminum-lithium is lighter than your standard aerospace aluminum alloys without giving up any strength.  The External Tank on the Space Shuttle was changed in 1998 from aluminum to aluminum-lithium, saving 7,000 lbs per flight. 

This test article will have up to a million pounds of buckling load applied.  All the little spots on the cylinder are part of  the photogrammetry system to show exactly where the buckling begins.  Looking at the cylinder, it’s kind of like one of those 3-D pictures that you can’t quite resolve into something recognizable.  Engineers are going to use the buckling data to modernize models and design safety factors.

And the Kamag mover?  That’s “Franz”, as in Hans and Franz.

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