Ultra-Thin Ply Formable Material from Reusable Short Carbon Fiber Composites

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: 80NSSC18P2117
Agency Tracking Number: 187112
Amount: $124,993.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T12
Solicitation Number: STTR_18_P1
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-07-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-07-26
Small Business Information
9 Adelaide Court, Newark, DE, 19702-2068
DUNS: 848699810
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Roger Crane
 (410) 562-2163
Business Contact
 Dirk Heider
Phone: (302) 831-8898
Email: heider@compositesautomationllc.com
Research Institution
 University of Delaware
 104 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE, 00000-0000
 Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)

This project develops an ultra-thin and formable prepreg material from reusable short carbon fiber composites (CFC), including process and material development, test panel fabrication and mechanical performance evaluation. Key to superior performance of ultra-thin ply materials is the ability to fabricate high fiber volume and uniform fiber distribution prepreg with low void content and layer thicknesses ≤20μm. Our prepreg is made from short, aligned carbon fiber (CF) sheets and polymer film impregnation. We have demonstrated successful fabrication of 30gsm areal weight fabric material and recently proved ultra-thin ply prepreg impregnation with a low areal weight polymer film. The process is unique as it is not relying on spreading of large fiber tows but assembles individual short fibers creating better control of fiber content and thickness uniformity. The materials can be processed using conventional autoclave with mechanical properties equivalent to continuous CFC.

Key advantages of short CF thin-ply material compared to traditional continuous prepreg are the lower variability of the microstructure, the ability of in-plane stretching of short CFCs, the ability to hybridize at the fiber level and to reclaim the CF material for fabrication of new high-performance parts or as feedstock for additive manufacturing processes. The Phase I will demonstrate high-quality thin-ply uni and QI prepregs made from short CFs and a potential Phase II will consider evaluation of the multi-functional aspect of the material including hybridization, improved processability and recovery of short CFCs.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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