NASA has identified a need for new technologies in support of human exploration of the Moon and manned missions to Mars that will reduce the cost of exploration, enable efficient and reliable operations in extreme environments, and implement advanced in-space assembly techniques within state-of-the-art space structures. Improvements in each of these design and manufacturing areas are critical to enabling a sustainable Lunar and Mars presence by the U.S. While many current composite designs are limited to unidirectional fiber layups and stacking sequences, NanoSonic shall utilize filament winding for ultra-high strength complex shaped composites with optimized isotropic load paths rather than quasi-isotropic properties. Highly tailored materials using additive manufacturing techniques are NanoSonic’s expertise. In this STTR, we have teamed with Virginia Tech’s (VT) composite coding experts to predictively yield repeatable and reliable multifunctional lightweight hybrid structures through design tools. NanoSonic will collaborate with VT to develop unique composite property analysis software via Abaqus and Python. Abaqus is a finite element analysis software. Coupled with Python scripting, the components of a geometrical model including the parts, materials, properties, steps, mechanical or thermal loads, shall be inputted in an automated manner to evaluate and estimate a proposed composite’s behavior under certain conditions.
Potential NASA applications for the design uses include: Space Technology Mission Directorate, Artemis/HLS programs, developers of air-launched systems (Generation Orbit Launch Services; Science Mission Directorate, Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate) next-generation airframe technology beyond tube and wing configurations (hybrid/blended wing body). NanoSonic shall develop innovative a design tool with VT to form hybrid lightweight structural pressure vessels as complex shaped cryotanks.
Dual-use applications for the composites include H2 dispensing hoses and on-board storage tanks for zero emission vehicles. Additional industries for these low cost lightweight cryotanks are in trucking, transportation, space, and medical, thereby widening commercial opportunities for H2. NanoSonic is currently selling related advanced polymer resins that will be used in the hoses and tanks.