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Self-repairing Composites for Airplane Components

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2003 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Natural Process Design
1250 East Eighth Street Winona, MN -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2003
Title: Self-repairing Composites for Airplane Components
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: F33615-03-M-3341
Award Amount: $99,998.00


Composites are used in the F/A 18 which has 50% of its skin in composite material. Other planes with high composite usage are the F-18, the B-1B bomber, F-14A, F-a6 and Navy V-22. The use of composites in airplane components provides significant weightreduction (40%) over metals. Reliability, in an all-composite airplane component, relates to the ability to eliminate damage before it can lead to catastrophic failure. The proposed self-healing technology will successfully repair microcracks, as well asother damages. The only reliable fail-safe mode for response of composite components to damage in airplane composites is to repair instantaneously, where and when damage occurs, before it progresses. The performance improvement of these combinedtechnologies, of self-repairing composite airplane components, will be significant. Natural Process Design will partner with GMI Composites, known for their work on composite components for airplane use, to demonstrate self-repair in an airplane compositecomponents or in the wing area. The use of composite technology with the integration of self healing methods has already been proposed and accepted as a viable premise for airplane component development. It will result in the potential incorporation ofthese technologies for the ground support systems, for the airborne transportation systems and also for some of the current airborne systems. The overall weight reduction is the primary technology advantage for use of composite systems.The obvious benefits of self-repairing technology at the subsystem component level will be in the fail-safe confidence of using self repairing composites to eliminate the potential for microcracking, impact and handling damage and later failures. Also thepayoff in the use of composite technology and self-healing methods for overall system use is the potential for self-repairing composite wing sections.The commercial uses will be in commercial airplanes wherever composites are used. Industries with severe reliability requirements, such as transportation, would benefit from self-repairing technology.

Principal Investigator:

Carolyn Dry

Business Contact:

Carolyn Dry
Small Business Information at Submission:

1605 Park Haven Drive Champaign, IL 61820

Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No