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MPF considered similar ceramic break designs which typically involved brazing Al2O3 and Kovar components. The Reactor Grade Niobium is difficult to fabricate into complex shapes, so this limited the mechanical design of the weld adapters. Ultimately, MPF adopted a specific metallization-alloy combination and specialized fixtures in order to yield a successful braze.
MPF delivered the Sapphire-Niobium assemblies which were tested extensively for vacuum leaks, thermal cycling and mechanical stress. Vacuum and thermal performance was excellent. It was noted that the mechanical stresses it he parts were acceptable, but improvements would be beneficial in the service life of the assemblies. The design was revised based on mechanical modeling to reduce mechanical stresses at the braze interfaces.
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