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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

The Microwave Assisted Composite Manufacturing and Repair (MACMAR)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The inherent microwave property of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) generates the thermal energy required to induce reversible polymerization of the matrix in these self-healing composites. Microwaves will be used to demonstrate advanced composite manufacturing and repair using self-healing composites.

The Microwave Assisted Composite Manufacturing and Repair (MACMAR) project leverages on the previous work on self-healing composites that shows the addition of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) enhances the healing process while introducing multifunctional properties. The inherent microwave property of the CNTs generates the thermal energy required to induce reversible polymerization of the matrix in these composites. The primary goal of MACMAR is to show that microwaves can be used to bond composite panels. These self-healing composites could be exploited for composite welding, curing and damage repair. The ability to remove post-manufacturing defects or impact induced damage could lead to improved damage tolerance. Microwave assisted welding and curing could lead to more cost effective composite manufacturing and potentially significant cost savings by reducing/eliminating tools and fastened joints.

Partnerships: This work is a collaborative effort between other NASA centers, other federal agencies and small business. The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is supporting with additional characterization of the composite welds. Langley Research Center (LaRC) is providing collaborative consultation on composite manufacturing and specifications. A small business, nanoComposix is assisting with self-healing composite fabrication. Composite welding, characterization and testing is performed at JSC.

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