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Space Sensor Helps Produce Greener Glass
What glassmaking in common with space exploration? The special technology to measure the oxygen atoms out of space vehicles are being used in the glass industry to produce energy saving windows, super-efficient.
With a modern architecture with large glass facades, it has become important to improve the insulation properties of glass.
Windows should protect the interior against heat loss during cold weather and overheating in hot summer days.
"Through the use of sensor technology in this space has been possible," said Frank Hammer, a founding member of the Escudero German company that developed the first special tool for space flight.
Through MST Aerospace, the German technology corridor Technology Transfer Programme of ESA, contact was made with a glass manufacturer.
Today, the sensor is mounted outside the International Space Station and is used in a German glass factory.
"In space, the sensor was developed to measure oxygen, known for its effect of erosion and degradation of optical surfaces," said Hammer.
"In the glass industry of technology is currently used to control the industrial process of coating glass for better insulation properties."
The complex coating process requires a reliable and accurate monitoring for process control.
"The gas sensor developed to handle the harsh space environment proved to be the right solution to handle the difficult conditions of glass production of high temperature and reactive gases," said Mr. Hammer.

Introduction to spacecraft reentry
It all started when in 1993 the ESA commissioned the University of Stuttgart to develop ceramic gas sensors to measure oxygen levels around nuclear reentry craft extreme test conditions.
In addition miniaturized by the University of Dresden, were transferred FIPEX several space experiments, including re-entry of Russian descent capsule inflatable and technological research.
In 2008 FIPEX was launched shuttle mission STS-122 and is mounted outside the Columbus laboratory module of the ESA International Space Station.
"Part of the European Technology Exposure Facility outside of Columbus, FIPEX helps to understand the atmospheric environment in low orbit of the measurement of highly aggressive corrosive atomic oxygen around the station," says Martin Zell, head of the Department of Operations Research ESA.
"People at the University of Dresden and Escudero developed a highly efficient sensor fulfilling our space requirements, reduced size, weight and power consumption.
"I can see the same sensor technology could provide advantages in many applications on Earth as well, compared to existing similar sensors."
Because of its miniaturization, low power consumption and other technical advantages, considerable interest arose in the industry to use ground sensors in medicine, environmental research and applications of vacuum.
Escudero was created in 1999 to introduce this innovative space technology in non-space markets.
FIPEX based on specific requirements and the glass industry, Escudero developed the new sensor Vacus for vacuum and plasma, providing easy and inexpensive, time-resolution process control for industrial processes such as gas reactive magnetron sputtering plant float glass coating.
"The goal was to optimize the coating process and improve the quality of the layer," said Mr. Hammer.
Contact:novalglass      Released time:2011-05-09 21:29:21
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