Innovative CFOAM Tooling
Agency / Branch:
DOD / MDA
Construction of aerospace structures such as aircraft fuselages, missile surfaces, rocket motors, and satellites is moving to carbon fiber-reinforced thermoset and thermoplastic resins, resulting in higher strength-to-weight ratio and becoming less subjectto corrosion and fatigue. Composite production methods replace more difficult techniques which required precise surfaces and an exact fit of mating parts for precision molds and tools. Original composite forming tools were made from aluminum, steel orelectroformed nickel, adjusted to compensate for differences in expansion rates between tool materials and the composites. Recently, Nickel-Iron alloys have been used to address CTE mismatch issues, but they are still heavy and require much energy to heatthe molds. Tools and selection of construction materials are critically important. Tools must be rigid, durable and offer a CTE that matches the composite piece. Being carbon-based, CFOAMr has CTE values close to the carbon fiber-reinforced thermoset andthermoplastic resins. Unlike current materials, CFOAMr CTE values can be precisely controlled and matched. CFOAMr can be easily spray-coated with metals or covered with carbon fiber-reinforced resins and epoxies, providing hard, durable surfaces. CFOAMrdensities are much lower than aluminum, steel, and nickel-iron alloys. The tool's mass reduction offers tremendous advantages over the current process including easier tool handling and shorter machining and curing times. CFOAMr composite tooling pricingwill be orders of magnitude lower than current available methods. Shorter tooling lead times and lower cost will reduce MDA major program's cost, technical, and schedule risk involving composite part manufacturing. Precise control of the CFOAMr CTE,will result in better, more reproducible parts with less scrap and reduction in manufacturing costs. The technology will be utilized in all DOD composite manufacturing programs providing the same cost, technical, and schedule benefits. The commercialmarket is substantial including commercial aerospace manufacturing, recreational boat building, and any other composite part manufacture requiring tooling mandrels or molds.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Rick D. Lucas
Product Development Manag
Brian E. Joseph
TOUCHSTONE RESEARCH LABORATORY, LTD.
The Millennium Centre, R.R. 1, Box 100B Triadelphia, WV 26059
Number of Employees: