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Center Innovation Fund: KSC CIF

Nonspherical Microcapsules for Increased Core Content Volume Delivery

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

If systems such as wiring insulation, inflatables, and habitation structures had a way to automatically heal tears, abrasions, and other damage, that ability would significantly increase their reliability, reduce their life cycle costs, and improve the safety of the operations and larger systems they support (commercial and defense aircraft, extended space missions, surface exploration, etc.). Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has been developing self-healing technologies for wiring systems and has established intellectual property in this area. One of KSC’s approaches is encapsulating healants in spherical microcapsules so they can be released automatically when the system is damaged. The healant fills the voids that form as the damage occurs. But to overcome challenges in spherical microencapsulation, innovative ideas and approaches are required.

 

The goal of this project was to advance microencapsulation from the standard spherical microcapsule to a non-spherical, high-aspect ratio (HAR), elongated microcapsule. This was to be accomplished by developing reproducible methods of synthesizing or fabricating robust, non-spherical, HAR microcapsules. An additional goal of this project was to develop the techniques to the point where scale-up of these methods could be examined.  Additionally, this project investigated ways to apply the microencapsulation techniques developed as part of this project to self-healing formulations.

This project had three primary objectives, all of which have been addressed:
• Assess the state-of-the-art for  microcapsules and self-healing systems;
• Evaluate reproducible methods of synthesizing or fabricating robust, nonspherical microcapsules and develop new technology where applicable;
• Evaluate the use of nonspherical  microcapsules in self-healing applications such as wire insulation

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Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

A final report document may be available for this project. If you would like to request it, please contact us.

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