NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- A4.02-8771 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023228 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Space Structures, Materials, and Manufacturing
PROPOSAL TITLE: Ultrasonic Tape Laminated Cryogenic Tank Structures Processed Outside Autoclave

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Foster-Miller Inc
350 Second Ave
Waltham , MA   02154 - 1196
(781 ) 622 - 5502

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
John Player
350 Second Ave
Waltham , MA   02154 - 1196
(781 ) 684 - 4242

Recent designs for large aerospace structures especially cryotank structures for the second and third Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) are driving the aerospace community to develop out-of-autoclave composite manufacturing processes to save enormous autoclave capital equipment costs. In this proposed Phase I effort, Foster-Miller will demonstrate that autoclave equivalent mechanical properties can be obtained using its Ultrasonic Tape Lamination technology coupled with its novel out-of-autoclave processing approach, solid state curing. Preliminary data from work with Northrop Grumman on the second generation RLV cryotank manufacturing program already shows that this process is feasible by achieving 90 percent of the autoclave processed properties.

Foster-Miller will utilize in house analytical equipment to perform the resin characterization essential for refining the UTL/solid state curing approach. Critical mechanical property testing will be performed to demonstrate autoclave property equity in the Phase I. Northrop Grumman will supply Foster-Miller with key logistical and tooling information to assess the cost saving potential of the refined UTL/solid state cure approach. The Air Force has shown significant interest in this technology and will be kept informed as UTL/solid state curing is developed in Phases I and II. (P-020642)

Foster-Miller?s Ultrasonic Tape Lamination (UTL) technology coupled with its novel out-of-autoclave processing approach, solid state curing has the potential to dramatically change the cost structure for fabricating a wide range of commercial aircraft composite components. Many of the large nacelle and flight control structures on Boeing and Airbus aircraft require multiple autoclave cycles for their manufacture, incurring substantial costs in cycle time and associated labor. Foster-Miller?s UTL/solid state bag-less cure would eliminate the need for the autoclave and perhaps more importantly, would eliminate the labor costs associated with vacuum bagging, usually performed several times during a component?s fabrication. UTL/solid state bag-less curing can also be applied to the manufacture of a wide range of other large composite structures that need high quality at low cost such as thick tubulars for offshore oil drilling, military fighter structures (JSF, F-18E/F, and V22) and military space plane structures (Air Force SOV cryotanks).

Foster-Miller?s UTL/solid state bag-less cure can be utilized during the manufacture of many of NASA?s large aerospace structures. The most prominent are the cryogenic fuel tanks for the next generations of reusable launch vehicle. Although the cryotanks provide the largest immediate cost savings primarily due to the elimination of autoclave capital investment, the opportunity to save manufacturing costs with this novel out-of-autoclave processing approach exists for other large space vehicle structures such as RLV wing skins, payload bay and landing gear doors. Other launch vehicles such as Delta IV rocket and its composite payload fairings also provide an excellent cost saving opportunity for the UTL/solid state bag-less technology.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10