Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

John Kuhlman

Committee Co-Chair

Terence Musho

Committee Member

Terence Musho

Committee Member

Edward Sabolsky


With the expansion of the space industry, the need for the capability to repair electronics in space grows. Previous researchers have found that soldering in microgravity has yielded joints of poorer quality than those made on Earth, with increased interior porosity. WVU’s microgravity research team (MRT) constructed an experiment to solder onboard a microgravity aircraft to explore this problem and to test a possible solution. MRT’s experiment collected solder samples both in microgravity and a ground test, which were then cross-sectioned to allow the interior porosity of the joints to be studied. This determined that there was an increase in porosity for the joints formed in microgravity. Exploration into the source of the gases in the solder contributing to porosity was attempted by energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy analysis of the interior of the voids. Although carbon, an indication of flux vapor, was found in the voids, this examination proved inconclusive due to the possibility of contamination. In an attempt to reduce porosity in microgravity joints, some of the solder samples utilized solders including iron microparticles, soldered in a magnetic field. This provided a magnetic body force on the solder to replace the gravitational force. The magnetic manipulation of the solder did not provide consistent, statistically significant change to the porosity of the joints. Magnetic manipulation of solder could be further explored; however, the current work has not shown a benefit to the quality of the joints.