NASA SBIR 2002 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02-II 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   02451 - 1196
(781 ) 684 - 4000

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER: (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/ZIP, Phone)
John Player
350 Second Ave.
Waltham , MA   02451 - 1196
(781 ) 622 - 5502

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 an estimated $30 million in autoclave capital equipment costs. In the Phase I effort, this process was demonstrated to produce excellent quality laminates typical for most of the thin regions of cryotank structure. In this proposed Phase II effort, Foster-Miller will further refine its Ultrasonic Tape Lamination (UTL?) technology coupled with its novel out-of-autoclave processing approach, controlled state curing, and demonstrate that reinforced regions cryotank structure can be fabricated with this novel methodology. The proposed Phase II program will also advance the state of art for the UTL? equipment by developing key articulation control mechanisms for complex contour fabrication. Foster-Miller will fabricate and deliver the resulting advanced UTL? head to NASA at the conclusion of the Phase II program. Foster-Miller will also fabricate a cylindrical demonstrator using both the advanced UTL? equipment and the refined controlled state curing technique. Northrop Grumman and Alliant TechSystems (ATK) supported the Phase I program, and both have agreed to cost share in the proposed Phase II program. (P-030587)

Foster-Miller?s UTL ? technology, coupled with its novel out-of-autoclave processing approach, controlled state curing 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?/controlled state bag-less technology.

Foster-Miller?s UTL?/controlled state bag-less cure 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?/controlled 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?/controlled 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).

Form Printed on 10-03-03 11:34