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MicroCast: Additive Manufacturing of Metal Plus Insulator Structures with Sub-mm Features

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX14CG55P
Agency Tracking Number: 140076
Amount: $119,934.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T12.03
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-06-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2014-12-19
Small Business Information
427 North Tatnall Street, #56666
Wilmington, DE 19801-2230
United States
DUNS: 964279835
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jan Clawson
 Aerospace Engineer
 (214) 364-0157
Business Contact
 Jason Dunn
Title: Chief Technology Officer
Phone: (727) 808-9936
Research Institution
 University of Central Florida
 Erin Blackwell
4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-8005
United States

 (407) 823-4456
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

A novel method for fabricating electronics containing both metals and polymers can be adapted to quickly and effectively produce micro-well sensors. The process revolves around creating a polymeric part through additive manufacturing, leaving voids and trace capillaries. Once the polymer structures are completed, molten metal is injected into these trace capillaries, which create a path to the voids in the printed parts. Capillary forces cause the liquid metal to wick into the capillary channels, filling the voids before solidifying. Unlike competing metal additive manufacturing techniques, the parts can be created with 100% dense metal elements that have low surface roughness and are completely compatible with the surrounding polymer.

The proposed objective is to adapt the process specifically for the fabrication of the micro-well detectors required by the AdEPT mission.

The overall objective of this proposal is to develop the liquid metal injection process for use with the high-resolution additive manufacturing methods made available through the UCF team, in order to allow for the creation of metal/polymer parts with sub-mm features. A further goal of the program will be to generalize the process in order to expand into other NASA projects, as well as enable a variety of commercial products.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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