Two faculty members at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) are receiving funding from NASA for research into a 3D printing project.

photo of Brett Compton
Brett Compton, UTK

A proposal written by Associate Professor Brett Compton, Assistant Professor Damiano Baccarella, and industry partner re:3D, Inc. has been awarded funding through NASA’s Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. This comes after Compton and re:3D, Inc. completed Phase I of the program earlier this year. NASA chose 20 teams to move on to Phase II after they each demonstrated the feasibility of their presented technologies.

In a release, UTK said Compton and re:3D, Inc., a woman- and minority-owned business based in Houston, Texas, will receive funding up to $750,000 for two years to develop a system to 3D print high-temperature thermoset foam for potential use in NASA’s thermal protection systems. During Phase II, they are going to focus on scaling up their process and refining the material formulation for areas including spacecraft survival. They are also looking at ways to use the foam in industries outside of NASA.

Baccarella Headshot
Damiano Baccarella, UTK

The STTR program funds research, development, and demonstration of innovations and requires a small business to formally partner with a research institution. According to the STTR website, the program provides numerous benefits to the research institutions and professors working on the projects including a path to turning cutting-edge research from the lab to life-changing technology in the market, federal funding to advance research in an area of interest, and research data for potential publication in the future.

For a full list of STTR Phase II award recipients, click here.