NASA STTR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 T7.02-9866
RESEARCH SUBTOPIC TITLE: Innovative Fabrication Techniques for High Temperature Composites
PROPOSAL TITLE: Generating Autoclave-level Mechanical Properties with Out-of-Autoclave Thermoplastic Placement of Large Composite Aerospace Structures

NAME: Accudyne Systems, Inc. NAME: University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials
STREET: 134 Sandy Drive STREET: 201 Composite Manufacturing Science Lab
CITY: Newark CITY: Newark
STATE/ZIP: DE  19713 - 1147 STATE/ZIP: DE  19716 - 3144
PHONE: (302) 369-5390 PHONE: (302) 831-8149

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mark Gruber
134 Sandy Drive
Newark, DE 19713 - 1147
(302) 369-5390

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 2 to 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Out-of-autoclave thermoplastic tape/tow placement (TP-ATP) is nearing commercialization but suffers a moderate gap in mechanical properties compared with laminates fabricated via thermoset autoclave processing. Out-of-autoclave thermoplastic processing significantly lowers composite aerospace part costs, but the property gap must be closed. This STTR program, endorsed herein by Boeing and Cytec Engineered Materials, will remedy the mechanical property shortfall and enable large composite aerospace structure important to NASA to be manufactured without an autoclave. Accudyne is teaming with University of Delaware – Center for Composite Materials to apply their state-of-the-art TP-ATP process/property models to elucidate the physical mechanisms affecting microstructural quality that cause the property gap. Models will be applied to the NASA LaRC TP-ATP deposition head to optimize the head configuration and machine operating parameters, and the control systems for full mechanical properties. Laminates will be manufactured to demonstrate the property improvements. The process, head, and equipment changes will be upgraded on the NASA-LaRC thermoplastic tape head. In Phase 2, process/head modeling will be extended through laminate fabrication and testing, and a component of interest to NASA will be fabricated demonstrating the improved "autoclave level" mechanical performance.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
A proven out-of-autoclave thermoplastic ATP process would yield noteworthy benefits. NASA can commission higher speed/altitude atmospheric research aircraft with wing and fuselage skins manufactured from 350oF/50,000 hour thermoplastic polyimides. Other NASA vehicles incorporating large composite structure, like the Ares V Heavy Lift and Ares I Crew Launch vehicles, and the Crew Exploration Vehicle could be made at lower cost and weight by virtue of parts consolidation, eliminating the cost and weight of joints, since there is no autoclave. Lower weight translates to higher payloads and lower launch costs. NASA-LaRC Materials Branch could more effectively develop higher use temperature thermoplastic composite materials by demonstrating them using their in-house out-of-autoclave TP-ATP process. Finally, NASA-MSFS could promote thermoplastic composite in situ processing at space-structure fabricators for lighter weight/lower cost solid rocket motors, liquid rocket engines, and space vehicles, and at airframers for lower cost wing and fuselage skins with better thermal performance.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Machine builders like Cincinnati Machine could develop and offer for sale a new class of thermoplastic tape layers and fiber placement machines to US aerospace primes. Material suppliers like Cytec Engineered Materials could develop and offer for sale a new class of placement-grade thermoplastic tape and tow material systems to US aerospace primes. OEMs and the US aerospace industry, generally, can adopt thermoplastic ATP/AFP to 1) eliminate the capital and operating cost of autoclaves and significantly lower the cost to fabricate large composite parts of interest to NASA and, in general, for US competitiveness, 2) lower weight of aerospace structure since larger parts can be fabricated out-of-the-autoclave, 3) enjoy mechanical properties in the composite equal or superior to those generated from today's autoclave process, and 4) benefit from additional thermoplastic resin characteristics, for example, high temperature performance, elevated toughness, superior solvent resistance, and environmental durability.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.


Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:52