Robert Bryant headed the team that invented Soluble Imide (LaRC-SI) the self-bonding thermoplastic that received an R&D 100 award for being one of the most significant new technical products of 1994. While researching resins and adhesives for advanced composites for high-speed aircraft, Dr. Bryant, noticed that one of the polymers he was working with did not behave as predicted. After putting the compound through a two-stage controlled chemical reaction, expecting it to precipitate as a powder after the second stage, he was surprised to see that the compound remained soluble.
According to a NasaTech report LaRC-SI proved to be a moldable, soluble, strong, crack-resistant polymer that could withstand high temperatures and pressures, unlikely to burn, and was resistant to hydrocarbons, lubricants, antifreeze, hydraulic fluid, and detergents.
MFC is used in industrial and research applications for vibration monitoring and dampening, for example, improved helicopter rotor blades research, and vibration monitoring of support structures near the space shuttle pads during launches. The composite material can be used for pipeline crack detection and is being tested in wind turbine blades. wires, and metals.
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