Using adsorption properties of metal-organic frameworks to make Lego-style facilities in space
Image credit: Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/space-technology-research-science-41006/
Contrived _voiceApr 11, 2022
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A way to make modular space stations without complex docking mechanisms because each modular piece can stick to any other modular piece at the molecular level without having to be welded together.
Building in space is bound to become inevitable when asteroid mining starts
With this method, you can detach and attach new parts whenever you want consequently making space stations more modifiable and reusable.
Since parts can just be traded out when they become obsolete, Poorer organizations may buy reused parts already in space if they can't afford to launch their own stations into space.
How it works
here is a sketch:
At attatchment points, the entire face is a MOF which is basically a material that is nanoporous but since it is artificial you have control of the shape of the pores.sloshing under it is a Ferrofluid layer that flows through the pores of the MOF. The innermost layer is insulation and life surport systems.
The principle behind all of this is adsorption ;this is the phenomena where a fluid or gas adheres to a surface without any change to it's chemical structure. The ferrofluid is the fluid in question. Since the MOF is electroconductive, by running a charge through it it is possible to move it around the pores to where you want it to be.
The shape of the pores are designed to fit into each other like microscopic velcro straps. The fluid then flows to each nanobarb and adsorbs to both sides. This is now physical adsorption and something cool happens here. Once an adsorbed atom gets close enough to a surface atom, the wavefunction of electron starts to overlap with that of the surface atom causing a rise in the system's energy. Factoring in how many atoms there are in the entire system, the energy required to tear them apart would be immense.
To intentionally tear them apart, an electric current would then have to be passed through the MOF to force the adsorbed fluid away from the barbed region . The barbs could then be moved to detatch from each other. It is already posible to control movement in MOF's . the module could then be free to roam and attatch itself to another station.
This is a general overview though, feel free to poke holes in the design or anything i've gotten wrong in technicality.
M. C. Desjonqueres; et al. (1996), Concepts in surface physics (2nd ed.), New York: Springer-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-540-58622-7, retrieved 29 August 2012