NASA STTR 2007 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 T7.02-9866
PHASE 1 CONTRACT NUMBER: NNX08CD45P
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

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (SBC): RESEARCH INSTITUTION (RI):
NAME: Accudyne Systems, Inc. NAME: University of Delaware
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
mgruber@accudyne.com
134 B Sandy Drive
Newark, DE 19713 - 1147
(302) 369-5390

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5 to 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
While in the 1970's and 1980's, composites were adopted for aerospace structure for increased performance and weight savings, the 1990's and 2000's witnessed the attention towards cost-effective fabrication. All thermoset processes that utilize such machines rely on autoclaves to consolidate the laminates, at significant acquisition and operational expense. Autoclaves to consolidate wings are hugely expensive. Autoclaves for fuselages are nearly cost-prohibitive (only one exists). Autoclaves for the Ares V do not exist. The marketplace would welcome a proven out-of-autoclave fabrication technology.

The tasks in the ASI/UD-CCM STTR phase 1 was to assess the performance of the current TP-ATP heads, do a model based parametric study to determine possible head and process parameter changes and demonstrate an improved understanding of the head, with a goal of autoclave level properties.

A set of models for the in situ Automated Tow/Tape Placement (ATP) processes that capture the important process phenomena were developed by UD-CCM. Accudyne then measured the laminate roughness, fabricated samples using a variety of conditions and tested the samples. Testing of the laminates indicate: placing with flat tape and using improved head chilling increases mechanical properties. Compacting with only a load reduces properties. Using a vacuum bag oven reconsolidation is ineffective, and even reduces mechanical properties.

The phase 2 program innovation is to develop and deploy University of Delaware process models to Accudyne's thermoplastic tow and tape placement head to remedy the mechanical property shortfall between the two fabrication processes used to manufacture large composite aerospace structure important to NASA. An additional advantage that would accrue by adopting TP-ATP would be the use of novel thermoplastic materials with thermal stability and toughness far in excess of what thermosetting materials can achieve.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The successful demonstration of out-of-autoclave thermoplastic ATP processing yielding full mechanical properties would yield noteworthy performance-in-use or acquisition cost benefits for NASA generally:
? NASA can apply the out-of-autoclave fabrication technology to a variety of structures important to the space program, especially large composite structure for space vehicle skins and tanks, solid rocket motors, and liquid rocket engines. Candidate applications are the Cargo Launch Vehicle (CLV-Ares V) and the Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV- Ares 1) skins and tanks, and the International Space Station (ISS).
? NASA can commission higher speed/altitude aircraft for atmospheric research. Aircraft skins would be made from 350oF/ 50,000 hour thermoplastic polyimides by the process demonstrated in this STTR.
? NASA can foster composite developments through its Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate in support of the US airframe industry. Aeronautics applications supported with non-autoclave fabrication are wing and fuselage skins for commercial and military subsonic and supersonic aircraft, and military and commercial rotorcraft.
? 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. This would introduce the high performance materials to the aerospace industry via low cost processing.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The successful demonstration of out-of-autoclave thermoplastic ATP processing yielding full mechanical properties would yield noteworthy performance-in-use or acquisition cost benefits for NASA OEMs, suppliers, and the US aerospace industry generally:
? Automated Fiber and Tape Placement Machine builders like MAG Cincinnati Machine could develop and offer for sale a new class of thermoplastic tape layers and fiber placement machines to US aerospace primes, or deposition heads to fit under current thermoset tape layers and fiber placement machines.
? Composite 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:
o 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,
o Lower weight of aerospace structure since larger parts can be fabricated out-of-the-autoclave. Consolidating multiple small parts into large components eliminates the weight and cost of joining, and thus, allows lower launch costs or increased payloads.
o Enjoy mechanical properties in the composite equal or superior to those generated from today's autoclave process,

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.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING
Airframe
Composites
Launch and Flight Vehicle
Tankage


Form Generated on 02-10-09 12:09