Lightweight Material for Full-Scale Parachutes
The main goal of this US Army SBIR Phase I project is to design and develop extremely lightweight, high strength nonwoven fabrics with controllable air permeability which could be used as a replacement for current woven parachute canopy fabrics at reduced cost. Product development trials will be conducted using pilot scale equipment to produce hydroentangled nonwoven fabrics containing nano-scale nylon filaments that are 50% lower in fabric weight compared to the current standard canopy fabrics, such as PIA-C-44378, Type IV. The lightweight nonwoven fabric will be designed and produced in a way to meet or exceed the current specification for breaking and tearing strength, durability, flexibility, chemical resistance, stability to water immersion and air permeability. Additionally, the newly developed nonwoven fabrics for the parachute canopies would be tested to verify the abrasion resistance and light fastness and compared to the current woven nylon fabric. The fabric will be manufactured in the USA to meet the requirements of the Berry Amendment. Phase I nonwoven fabrics will be made using nonwoven processes such as spunbonded, melt blown and spunlaced, utilizing bicomponent and splittable continuous synthetic filaments made of nylon and polyester. The nonwoven fabrics will contain nano-scale filaments for enhanced strength and field durability at reduced fabric weight. Other processes such electrospinning would be studied in Phase I to explore the possibility of making the required canopy fabric containing nano-scale filaments. Apart from monthly reports, a final technical report will be submitted to the sponsor along with 10 linear yards of selected parachute fabrics.
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