An Integrated, Out-of-Autoclave Composite Curing System for Aerospace Components
Polymer matrix, thermosetting composites (CYCOM-5250-4) are desirable for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft structures including blade seals, spars, and fairings due to the significant weight reductions that can be achieved while attaining sufficient strength. Currently, such components cannot be affordably made from advanced composite materials, due to highly inefficient and time-consuming consolidation processes. Creare"s innovation is a novel Laser-Assisted Consolidation (LAC) system that deposits directed and localized energy into the prepreg tape using a laser array that can be easily and safely integrated with the fiber placement head on any FPS machine platform. During the Phase I project, we demonstrated the feasibility of our LAC by fabricating CYCOM-5250-4 samples on a proof-of-concept LAC system; demonstrating effective consolidation at high feed rates; confirming that our process did not advance the cure of the composite; developing the preliminary design of an integrated LAC; and confirming the significant cost savings for a prototypical JSF part. During the Phase II project, we will develop a LAC prototype, test it at Creare, integrate it with our partner"s composite manufacturing equipment, demonstrate its effectiveness in a real-world manufacturing environment, and transition the technology to the JSF program.
Small Business Information at Submission:
P.O. Box 71 Hanover, NH -
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