In Situ Electrosynthesis of Polymethylmethacrylate within Ceramic Launch Pad Materials

NASA intern Raul Acevedo with the Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center. Image Credit: URC.

NASA intern Raul Acevedo with the Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center. Image Credit: URC.

Student: Raul Acevedo
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras

Major: Chemical Physics

Degree Level: Ph.D.

Internship Site: NASA Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

Mentor: Dr. Luz M. Calle

Abstract: Electrokinetic deposition of methylmethacrylate is used to mitigate corrosion in reinforced concrete. The methylmethacrylate (MMA) monomer deposits in the pores in the concrete where it is converted into its polymer, polymethylmethacrylate, thus creating a barrier that also enhances the mechanical properties of the concrete. Previous to the MMA treatment, an electrokinetic deposition is used to transport calcium, sodium and potassium hydroxide particles through the capillary pores of concrete directly to the concrete reinforcement. The intent is to use these compounds as a sacrificial electrode layer during the electrokinetic deposition of methylmethacrylate monomer. Cylindrical reinforced concrete specimens were subjected to electrokinetic treatment and the specimens were tested to characterize porosity reduction and tensile splitting strength, showing an increase in the tensile strength. In addition, nine specimens treated electrokinetically and in long-term atmospheric exposure testing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center’s seaside atmospheric exposure test site were tested to determine their corrosion rate.

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