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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Space Plastic Recycling System

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Space Plastic Recycling System, Phase I
Techshot's proposed Space Plastic Recycler (SPR) is an automated closed loop plastic recycling system that allows the automated conversion of disposable ISS packaging materials into suitable 3D printer filament. The SPR includes a receptacle to hold materials to be recycled, a grinding system to cut materials into small pieces, an auger system to transport the shredded material to a heated nozzle and a tension controller to precisely control the diameter of the filament produced. An automatic spooling system will wind the processed filament neatly onto a spool. The SPR includes a method to categorize and label spaceflight packaging materials making them easily identifiable as "print recyclables". The recycler will use the material label barcodes to automatically configure internal settings to process the material without the need for manual adjustments by the user. We propose operating and controlling the SPR inside the modular Techshot Multi-purpose Variable-G Platform (MVP). Now in Phase III development, MVP has been designed to house, control and provide environmental control for a wide variety of ISS experiments, including hardware such as the SPR. Operating the SPR inside the MVP offers several advantages, such as temperature and humidity control and the ability to monitor and capture vapors. The MVP also provides an extra layer of containment for noise and EMI. But the primary advantage of operating the SPR inside of the MVP is the reduction of development time and cost by eliminating the need to develop separate housing, control and data acquisition systems. The MVP already includes all of the power, data, control and mounting interfaces needed to operate the SPR. The SPR filtering system will ensure that gases and ultrafine particles are maintained below safe limits. The MVP software will monitor the system and shut it down, should any of the air quality measurements exceed safe limits. More »

Anticipated Benefits

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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