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Inflatable mold for use in space

[Category : - MECHANICAL ENGINEERING- OTHER- Construction Processes & Equipment]
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Modular Structures preferably usable to form human habitations in outer space are fabricated by molding. A mold comprising progressively surrounding flexible walls defines progressively surrounding cavities. A selected cavity or cavities are inflated or pressurized, as with gas, to distend to assume a predetermined configuration. Another selected cavity or cavities are injected with mold material, which is then allowed to harden. A pressurized cavity or cavities may be evacuated and then filled with mold material. In this manner, a strong structure is progressively formed is subsequent injection and hardening steps. In alternative embodiments of the molding method, supports or reinforcing members are placed within cavities prior to inflation and material injection. These supports space apart adjacent flexible mold walls and force the flexible walls to assume a desired configuration under inflated conditions. The supports can be rigid and solid; rigid, telescoping, and biased to expand; and flexible and resilient. The supports can thus resist tensile and compressive forces imposed on the flexible walls by inflation. In further alternative embodiments, magnets are placed within the mold, employing attraction and repulsion to maintain desired alignment of molded parts and to urge selected portions toward and away from others. A system of cylindrical and spherical hollow objects can be formed and connected. Connection can be solid or rotatable. The habitations can be rotated independently of one another even though connected, when an appropriate connection is provided.

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