Enabling Expeditionary Battlefield Manufacturing Using Recycled, Reclaimed, and/or Indigenous Materials

Report No. ARL-RP-0600
Authors: Marc Pepi; Nicole Zander; Margaret Gillan
Date/Pages: June 2017; 28 pages
Abstract: The ability to manufacture at the point of need in austere environments is a very important concept for the armed services. Research at the US Army Research Laboratory is showing that agile, expeditionary manufacturing could be accomplished through the use of materials indigenous to the location of our operating bases. Indigenous materials include not only the organic and inorganic materials naturally occurring in the area, but could also include recycled and reclaimed materials from the operating bases (metals, polymers, etc.) as well as battlefield scrap. This idea could potentially reduce the huge logistics tail needed to conduct wars on foreign soil, saving valuable resources and lives and allowing the warfighter to perform the mission instead of guarding and securing convoy transports. This report discusses research in 3 different areas: production of additive manufacturing—grade metallic powders in-theater, 3D printing of desert sand for casting molds on the battlefield, and 3D printing of recycled polymers.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: June 1, 2017