Branch Technology and Foster + Partners Win First Prize in NASA’s 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge Using Materials Designed by Techmer PM
Held at Caterpillar’s Demonstration and Learning Center at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, five teams qualified for Level 3 of the challenge, which required the 3-D printing of a dome structure and support samples for structural testing. Due to the rigors of the competition, only 3 of 77 teams competed in the finals under the supervision of Centennial Challenge sponsors Caterpillar, Bechtel, and Brick and Mortar Ventures.
Branch Technology won both segments of the print-off, completing three beams and three cylinders within the specified time frame. Their beam held 32,500 lbs. in a three-point bending test and the cylinder held 27,450 pounds in compression, while their dome held 3,726 pounds ultimate load. Branch Technology performed ten times better than any other team on the beam and over two times better than 3-D printed and cast-in-place concrete.
For this phase of the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge there were three stages; Branch won stage 1, came in third on Stage 2, and again took first in Stage 3, making Branch the clear winner of this phase of the competition.
Platt Boyd, CEO of Branch Technology, Inc., said, “Materials science was a big part of this competition, and we were glad to work with a materials design company like Techmer PM. The custom materials Techmer PM designed enabled Branch to maximize product performance and processing efficiency, allowing for a robust product to be made in realistic times.”
“Techmer PM wants to congratulate the Branch Technology team on their outstanding results in the NASA challenge. I know it has been a long journey, but the team’s effort and dedication have resulted in well-deserved recognition. Techmer PM is proud to be your materials design partner, and we look forward to working together on new challenges,” says John Manuck, CEO of Techmer PM.
The goal of the challenge is to foster the development of technologies to manufacture a habitat using local indigenous materials and recyclables. The vision is the ability to deploy autonomous machines in deep space destinations, including Mars, to construct shelters for human habitation—while on Earth, these methods and materials could be used to produce housing that is more robust and resource conscious.
For more information about the competition, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/3DPHab
About Techmer PM
Techmer PM is a leading materials design company that works in partnership with plastics processors, OEMs, and designers to solve some of their most difficult business, manufacturing, and sustainability challenges. The company’s solutions modify the aesthetics, as well as extend and maintain the physical properties of plastic products. The company designs custom solutions for customers to maximize performance through collaboration and by leveraging its leading-edge technology. Techmer PM was recognized by Plastics News “Best Places to Work” for 2014, 2016 and 2017. Learn more by visiting www.techmerpm.com.
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