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Sbir: Innovative Recycled Microballoon Thermoplastic Sandwich Composites


<p>This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project applies to material and process development of products from scrap (recycled) thermoplastic composite materials with microballoon fillers. Thermoplastics have superior strength, stiffness, impact energy absorption capacity, low cost and are readily recycled. Sandwich composite materials will be produced with recycled polypropylene syntactic microballoons and power plan derivate flyash microballoons. A sandwich composite is structurally efficient because it comprises a lightweight core that resists shear forces, bounded by stiff/strong facesheets that resist bending forces, and the above constituents will produce structures of superior specific strength and stiffness. The research objectives are to: (a) investigate the processing aspects of microballoon thermoplastics; (b) develop facesheets from recycled and sustainable thermoplastic composite scrap; (c) develop sandwich constructions with the recycled thermoplastic facesheets in conjunction with microballoon core materials, and (d) characterize thermal and mechanical properties of the sandwich composite panels. The results from these finding will establish design-process-performance windows to produce panels and intermediate forms to utilize recycled thermoplastic microballoon materials in semi-structural and structural applications. The ability to process recycled thermoplastic materials, syntactic foams and power plant waste derivative fly ash will create commercial value for products in transportation, pipeline safety and repair, infrastructure, protection of mass transit and school buses, enclosures for outdoor electrical equipment around buildings and marine vessels, and military gear. The material constituents are extremely cost-effective, so the product(s) will have lower to comparable cost metric to that of competing materials such as plywood, bulk metals and sheet metals. The materials developed will have positive societal benefits in terms of sustainability, recyclability, enhanced protection, cost-effectiveness, energy dissipation, insulation, impact resistance and vibration damping. This innovation will overcome the scientific and technological barrier for material and processing of regrind thermoplastic constituents and microballoon to create sustainable products. This is a high-risk, yet high pay-off developmental effort. The societal impact is further enhanced because (a) Sioux Manufacturing Corporation is a Native American company located in the Spirit Lake Nation, and (b) the educational impact is significant due to the involvement of graduate and undergraduate students including minority students at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the academic partner. This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).</p>

Grow, Dana T
Sioux Manufacturing Corporation
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