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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Reversible Copolymer Materials for FDM 3-D Printing of Non-Standard Plastics

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

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Cornerstone Research Group Inc. (CRG) proposes to continue efforts from the 2015 NASA SBIR Phase I topic H14.03 ?Reversible Copolymer Materials for FDM 3D Printing of Non-Standard Plastics.? CRGs offers NASA the ability to reprocess space mission waste packaging plastics as an In-Situ resource for in space manufacturing via Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) type 3-D printing of replacement tools, parts, and devices. This innovation is enabling for space exploration, the application of CRG?s reversible thermoset (RVT) polymers combined with a plastic recycling, blending, and extrusion process will allow current and future packaging materials to be processed into a copolymer blend filament suited to FDM 3-D printing system. This approach offers two implementation routes including; (1) An RVT additive that can be combined with existing waste packaging during a reclamation process to produce 3-D printer filament and (2) A RVT based replacement packaging material that can be directly reclaimed into 3-D printer filament. The material properties of 3-D printer filament from the RVT-based reclamation process can be tuned for mechanical performance (stiffness, flexibility) by adjusting the blend ratios of reclaimed waste packaging:RVT. This will provide NASA with a means to generate 3-D printer feedstocks with varying mechanical performance from on-hand packaging plastics without the need for separate 3-D printer material payloads. CRG has already demonstrated the efficacy of RVT additive in reclamation of NASA?s packaging materials in Phase I by producing a co-polymer blend of RVT with NASA packaging, producing a FDM printer filament with the reclaimed packaging, and successfully 3-D printing the resulting reclaimed packaging material. CRG?s proposed approach to further develop thermally-reversible polymer materials to reclaim NASA?s packaging will provide a material and processing technology readiness level (TRL) of 5 at the conclusion of the Phase II effort. More »

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