Opterus proposes to develop braided thin ply composite tapes. The tapes will be braided from ultra-thin spread-tow unidirectional carbon and glass ribbons and will enable a new source and form factor for thin-ply textiles. The resulting tapes will be especially useful for thin high strain composite space deployable structures where they will allow bias plies in long parts without requiring seams. The tapes will also be applicable to automated placement processes where it is otherwise challenging to place plies in a bias orientation. In many cases, braided tapes are expected to be higher quality and offer increased design freedom over weaves. The 13 month program will involve analytical braid design, manufacturing of braids, prepregging, composite part fabrication, and coupon testing.
NASA space applications include deployable composite booms used in a range of mission applications. Deployable booms are a fundamental technology need that spans multiple centers and missions. These include solar arrays, solar sails, drag sails, sun shades, instrument booms, radar antennas, and communications antennas. The proposed tapes will also be useful in pressure vessel and air vehicle programs.
Nn-NASA applications and markets primarily parallel those of NASA and include a large and growing commercial space sector and DoD agencies. Additional applications include the wind turbine industry and commodity composite tubes. These applications often require high torsional stiffness which is readily achieved with the bias tapes proposed here.