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Reclaimable Thermally Reversible Polymers for AM Feedstock, Phase II

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

CRG proposes to continue efforts from the 2016 NASA SBIR Phase I topic H5.04 Reclaimable Thermally Reversible Polymers for AM Feedstock. In Phase II, CRG will refine the thermally-reversible polymeric materials for function as reprocessable thermosetting matrixes, and evaluate improved reclamation and additive manufacturing (AM) related processing methods for prototype demonstrations. These materials and processes enable reclamation and repurposing of structural fiber-reinforced composites into new configurations during extraterrestrial missions, such as conversion to Additive Manufacturing (AM) feedstocks or direct fabrication into multipart constructs. The thermally-reversible thermosets also present the opportunity to generate volumes of AM feedstock through function as a binder matrix, allowing compounding and impregnation/infusion of in-situ resources such as environmentally sourced metallic, mineralogical (i.e. regolith), and desized/milled non-reprocessable composites. This approach will provide NASA with a means to support in-situ resource utilization with a reduced reliance on pristine raw material payloads. CRG has already demonstrated the efficacy of thermally-reversible polymer structures in commercial adhesive applications, as well as in previous NASA technical efforts for modifying waste packaging plastics to provide improved compatibility to AM processing (NASA SBIR H14.03-9603), and in the feasibility demonstration of the Phase I effort of this project. The proposed concept not only has the potential to enable resource reclamation and AM capability, but also to advance the state-of-the-art in AM materials technology. CRG's proposed approach to develop thermally-reversible polymer materials for thermoset polymer reprocessing, and demonstration of reclamation and manufacturing compatibility evaluation, will provide NASA with a material and processing technology readiness level (TRL) of 5 at the conclusion of the Phase II effort. More »

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