Vistex’s patented Pressure Focusing Layer (PFL™) technology utilizes a computationally optimized mold set that provides the same uniform pressure and temperature as an autoclave. NASA calls for an innovative out-of-autoclave processing method for thin-gauge structures. Vistex’s PFL process directly addresses this need. Specifically, the PFL process’ core strength is its ability to achieve the, subtopic requested, uniform temperature and pressure during processing. Vistex has already shown in its current configuration that it achieves “better final products with less process-related defects and part-to-part variability.” With the additional proposed innovation of modifying the PFL process to include a screw-based clamping pressure configuration, Vistex will be able to directly address NASA cost and equipment concerns.
The proposed scope of work lays the foundation for the PFL technology to be applied for large scale boom and aerospace structures in Phase II. Specifically, it validates that the PFL process works for thin-gauge composites, through pressure profiling, mechanical characterization and thermography to detect defects. Vistex will also produce a demonstration lenticular boom to validate its approach for larger structures. Vistex believes a successful Phase I and Phase II will lead to production of thin-gauge composite booms of multiple designs, as well as aerospace structural components using its low-cost OOA process.
Vistex’s PFL technology has many applications within NASA including the out-of-autoclave low-cost manufacture of large composite booms. This has many applications for such as small format packaging and reliable deployment of structural booms for power, communication, and scientific instruments. Additionally Vistex believes its PFL technology will enable low cost secondary structures for the aerospace structures.
Composite booms have many useful commercial and DOD applications in space and terrestrial environments. Booms could have applications in self-assembling structures in terrestrial environments, and in commercial satellite applications. In aerospace, Vistex has proven a cost effective process for the fabrication of drone structural components which would also benefit from thin-gauge composites.