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Carbon Foam Self-Heated Tooling for Out-of-Autoclave Composites Manufacturing

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2009 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
WV 1142 Middle Creek Road Triadelphia, WV 26059-1139
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2009
Title: Carbon Foam Self-Heated Tooling for Out-of-Autoclave Composites Manufacturing
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX09CC58P
Award Amount: $99,999.00


This proposal addresses NASA's need for non-autoclave composites manufacture. The Constellation program, including the Ares V launch vehicle, will require very large-scale structures and conventional autoclave-based composites which are very costly and suffer from logistical problems. Out of autoclave (OOA) composite manufacturing technology has the potential to solve the constraint issues of autoclave processes without suffering performance issues. However, several critical issues remain a technical challenge, and further development is required to bring OOA into the mainstream of composites manufacturing. Touchstone proposes to demonstrate that a composite tool made from its carbon foam materials can be self-heated by passing an electric current through the tool body, thereby heating only the tool and part and not requiring an autoclave or oven for curing. In Phase 1, a small prototype tool will be built and tested for self-heating performance in comparison to a conventional autoclave cure cycle on the same tool. Specific resin systems suited for OOA processing will be utilized, and performance properties of composite samples produced by both the self-heated carbon foam tool and a conventional carbon foam autoclave tool will be characterized. At the end of Phase 1, the TRL will be 4, and by the conclusion of Phase 2, the TRL will reach 6.

Principal Investigator:

Rick D. Lucas
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Brian Joseph
Business Official
Small Business Information at Submission:

Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
The Millennium Centre, 1142 Middle Creek Road Triadelphia, WV 26059

EIN/Tax ID: 550640717
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No