NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X4.06-9473
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Composite Structures - Manufacturing
PROPOSAL TITLE: Carbon Foam Self-Heated Tooling for Out-of-Autoclave Composites Manufacturing

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
The Millenium Centre, RR 1, Box 100B
Triadelphia, WV 26059 - 9707
(304) 547-5800

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Rick D. Lucas
rdl@trl.com
The Millennium Centre
Triadelphia, WV 26059 - 9707
(304) 547-5800

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This proposal addresses NASA's need for non-autoclave composites manufacture. The Constellation program, including the Ares V launch vehicle, will require very large-scale structures and conventional autoclave-based composites which are very costly and suffer from logistical problems. Out of autoclave (OOA) composite manufacturing technology has the potential to solve the constraint issues of autoclave processes without suffering performance issues. However, several critical issues remain a technical challenge, and further development is required to bring OOA into the mainstream of composites manufacturing.

Touchstone proposes to demonstrate that a composite tool made from its carbon foam materials can be self-heated by passing an electric current through the tool body, thereby heating only the tool and part and not requiring an autoclave or oven for curing. In Phase 1, a small prototype tool will be built and tested for self-heating performance in comparison to a conventional autoclave cure cycle on the same tool. Specific resin systems suited for OOA processing will be utilized, and performance properties of composite samples produced by both the self-heated carbon foam tool and a conventional carbon foam autoclave tool will be characterized.

At the end of Phase 1, the TRL will be 4, and by the conclusion of Phase 2, the TRL will reach 6.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
This proposal addresses NASA's need for non-autoclave composites manufacture. The Constellation program, including the Ares V launch vehicle, will require very large-scale structures and conventional autoclave-based composites which are very costly and suffer from logistical problems. Out of autoclave (OOA) composite manufacturing technology has the potential to solve the constraint issues of autoclave processes without suffering performance issues. However, several critical issues remain a technical challenge, and further development is required to bring OOA into the mainstream of composites manufacturing.

Touchstone proposes to demonstrate that a composite tool made from its carbon foam materials can be self-heated by passing an electric current through the tool body, thereby heating only the tool and part and not requiring an autoclave or oven for curing. In Phase 1, a small prototype tool will be built and tested for self-heating performance in comparison to a conventional autoclave cure cycle on the same tool. Specific resin systems suited for OOA processing will be utilized, and performance properties of composite samples produced by both the self-heated carbon foam tool and a conventional carbon foam autoclave tool will be characterized.

At the end of Phase 1, the TRL will be 4, and by the conclusion of Phase 2, the TRL will reach 6.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Developing the self-heated carbon foam tooling technology will not only benefit NASA's current and future missions but will also have significant implications in the commercial aerospace and large boat building industries. As Boeing is pioneering use of composites in commercial airplane manufacturing, other large airplanes will follow suit, and cost reductions will be critical in these applications. Demonstrating that large scale composite structures can be produced with OOA technologies, such as carbon foam tooling, Touchstone anticipates that commercial aerospace as well as DoD and commercial shipbuilding will adopt the technology. At the end of the Phase 2 effort, Touchstone and its prime contractor partners will have demonstrated a large-scale carbon foam self-heated tool and complementary fiber/resin systems that will be applicable to a wide range of non-NASA applications.

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
Composites
Launch and Flight Vehicle


Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56