Home » Want to make a Christmas cake on the space station? Rely on the zero-gravity patch “Fixpace” from the Sharon Bath factory! – INSIDE

Want to make a Christmas cake on the space station? Rely on the zero-gravity patch “Fixpace” from the Sharon Bath factory! – INSIDE

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Want to make a Christmas cake on the space station? Rely on the zero-gravity patch “Fixpace” from the Sharon Bath factory!  – INSIDE

Do you yearn for space exploration, or someday experience life in zero gravity? How to keep things from flying around while doing something that requires a gadget or part is probably the first thing you have to imagine before heading to space.

Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical, a Japanese pharmaceutical company well-known for its pain patch “Salonpas”, has launched a convenient and fixed double-sided patch in response to the problem that astronauts are in the microgravity state of the International Space Station (ISS) and small items are easy to float away and disappear. Adhesive film “Fixpace”, Japanese space technology media UchuBiz reported that the astronauts gave full play to their creative use, and recently used this product to make a simple Christmas cake on the space station!

UchuBiz interviewed the digital R&D director of Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical, Director of R&D Headquarters and Development Planning Department Katsumi Suzuki pointed out that the initial development opportunity was JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) invited the factory to participate in the development of space products “Think Space Life Project・Collaborative Workshop”.

Daisuke Fukushima, head of Development Promotion Section 3 and project manager of the same department, explained that when participating in the JAXA workshop, one of the few things that the astronauts mentioned to be troubled in the ISS was that under microgravity, all objects, large and small, They will all float up and disappear. In the past, Velcro felt was used to stick objects and walls to fix it, but it was almost impossible to do this for too small objects. The planning department met with the Japanese astronaut “Kōichi Wakata” to discuss and develop a solution to the “floating away problem” for small objects such as pens, knives and forks, and mobile phones that are particularly commonly used and often put aside.

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Research and development topics: limited composition, multi-layer composite structure, different viscosities on both sides

However, the issues encountered in the research and development are very different from the products generally used on the earth. Due to the need to take it into space, volatile and flammable organic solvents (alcohol, etc.) components that are often used in similar products cannot be mixed. With the exclusion of alcohol from the material, the manufacturing methods become limited, and in the limited manufacturing methods, the ingredients suitable for these manufacturing methods are also limited. In the end, it took longer than usual to make a product that would function as an adhesive under limited conditions.

In addition, the adhesive products used in the microgravity space do not actually need to consider the load-bearing problem of the object. But exactly how sticky does it have to be to stick? The adhesive sheet is to be stuck on the wall, and it would be bad if the adhesive sheet is torn off from the wall when the item is repeatedly attached and removed. In the end, I can only imagine the adhesive force needed in space, and then refer to the company’s products with strong adhesive force as a reference design, and continue to trial and error.

Mr. Fukushima said that double-sided tape or single-layer adhesive sheets used on the earth have the same stickiness on both sides. This design will peel off together with the adhesive sheet when removing the object. Therefore, this product uses a multi-layer structure to endow the surface with different viscosities from the inside.

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Yusuke Tanaka, a researcher in the pharmaceutical department of the company, also added that in terms of physical properties, the viscosity of the inner surface (close to the wall surface) is about twice that of the surface (sticky object surface). The processing method remains the same, and the viscosity is strengthened and weakened by adjusting the amount of ingredients. After changing different materials, ingredients, thicknesses, and manufacturing processes, and trying more than 30 combinations of the final product, the stickiness on the surface can be repeated and re-adhesive at least 100 times.

How to use the commercialized “Fixpace”?

“Fixpace” was approved by JAXA in 2020 and landed on the International Space Station. Jiuguang Pharmaceutical originally envisaged the use method, which is to attach pens, scissors and other objects flat on the adhesive sheet to fix them. However, the introduction video shot by Koichi Wakata at the ISS was completely beyond the expectations of the R&D staff! Astronaut Wakata Hikari directly “inserted” the tip of the pen or scissors into the adhesive sheet, and the object was fixed. For the R&D personnel, knowing that the product can still function in this way in space, they all let go of a high-hanging heart.

Section Chief Fukushima sighed, and heard the astronauts mention that “it is very convenient to use non-gravity adhesive sheets to make simple cakes when holding a Christmas party in the International Space Station”, and it is even more unexpected that there are these application methods.

Based on the requirements of JAXA’s “THINK SPACE LIFE” project, the product needs to be a daily necessities that solve the common problems of “cosmic life/surface life” at the same time, and the adhesive sheet is also sticky for use on the ground. In fact, the need to fix items on the wall is not only found in space. In the internal discussions of Jiuguang Pharmaceutical, many practical applications such as sticking cooking utensils in the kitchen and fixing items in the car are also listed. case.

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Mr. Fukushima also pointed out that this adhesive sheet was actually developed from several fixed sizes of pain relief patches made by the pharmaceutical factory, and selected a suitable size that can be worn with ISS. At present, the size of 10x14cm is made according to JAXA’s Feedback, and it is also convenient to use scissors to cut it into a suitable small size. The differences and solutions between life in space and the needs of the surface may not be as far away as you think. As for the non-gravity adhesive sheet, will it emit a strong medicinal cloth smell like a pain relief patch? Or on the other hand, will the research and development of gravity-free adhesive sheets accidentally develop a market for odorless patches? That may be as exciting as the space products of the pharmaceutical company’s slash.

Draft editor: Chris

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