Apollo Guidance Computer Activities

AGC Conference 3 - Technical Innovations in Manufacturing

Apollo Guidance Computer History Project

Third conference

November 30, 2001

AGC mule

Technical Innovations in Manufacturing

HERB BRISS: Well, science is always going to be a major player in whatever’s in the future. But when it comes down to the trenches, it’s not as important from a technical aspect.

ED DUGGAN: No, I'm not conflicting with what you’re saying. But I think it is important to identify that sometimes you go into these things, I think it’s just a matter of using the standard things we’ve used and find out you get back ... (inaudible) or something from--

ED BLONDIN: This wasn’t the a computer, it was a module of the LM and we were getting a corona effect up there and saying this thing was potted. And we would pot it, put it in a vacuum chamber, draw the vacuum chamber down and wait for X number of minutes until we saw all the bubbles gone and then check it again for a half an hour and then say, "Okay, this is ready to go." Where’s the corona effect coming from if there’s no gas in it?

So we took a device, a blender, like you’d use for a frappe, and we put that in the bottom of this vacuum. And we put that module in there. When we couldn’t see any more bubbles any more, we turned that blender on. That thing foamed. I mean, it was like beer, like Guinness stout, full of tiny bubbles. There was froth on the top of it and of course in the vacuum chamber, the froth collapsed. We said, "how in hell did we miss that?" Well, we had thought that the vacuum alone had enough power to pull all those bubbles out, but it didn’t. And after that, the problem went away.

ED DUGGAN: Lot of times that out-gassing was corrosive, too. I mean, other things were affected by it.

ED BLONDIN: I remember watching that for the first time and seeing this, like someone pouring a Guinness stout, the foam rise. And I said, "Unbelievable."

BARD TURNER: Anybody remember the radiated poly-olefin insulation that would detonate? In the reliability building down the street, you know, somebody discovered this great wire insulation which was very good for cut through and good electric flow. It’s called a radiated poly-olefin and it has these double bonds or something. And they were running it in pure oxygen in a test chamber and getting it hot and stuff like that. After a certain point, it would change and it would explode. And it blew the lid off the test chamber. Really. Maybe this never got back to you guys, but we decided maybe that's not a good idea.

CLINE FRASIER: We knew everything that was going on.

BARD TURNER: Well, that was George Nail’s people.

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