A system for joining a pair of structural members having widely differing coefficients of thermal expansion is disclosed. A mechanically "thick" foil is made by dispersing a refractory metal powder, such as molybdenum, niobium, tantalum, or tungsten into a quantity of a liquid, high expansion metal such as copper, silver, or gold, casting an ingot of the mixture, and then cutting sections of the ingot about 1 mm thick to provide the foil member. These foil members are shaped, and assembled between surfaces of structural members for joining, together with a layer of a braze alloy on either side of the foil member capable of wetting both the surfaces of the structural members and the foil. The assembled body is then heated to melt the braze alloy and join the assembled structure. The foil member subsequently absorbs the mechanical strain generated by the differential contraction of the cooling members that results from the difference in the coefficients of thermal expansion of the members.
This invention was made with Government support under government contract no. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention, including a paid-up license and the right, in limited circumstances, to require the owner of any patent issuing in this invention to license others on reasonable terms.